Exploring Cambodia: Song Saa Private Island

Just over two years ago I backpacked through south east Asia and I fell in love with Cambodia, it was by far my favourite country of the handful I explored. I slept on local peoples floors, rode on the roof of trucks, volunteered at schools, helped build a house for a family and even got stung by a scorpion! My time there was rough around the edges. The culture was unapologetically authentic and the people were honestly some of the kindest and most genuine I had ever met. I knew I had to return one day.

This time, I did Cambodia a different way, an admittedly more luxurious experience of the still developing country. I was not sure how I would feel about staying in a five star resort in a country still steeped in poverty. However, as soon as I touched down on Song Saa Private Island I knew I was in the right place. They manage to strike the perfect balance of incredible luxury, sustainability and a taste of the true local culture.

Song Saaa Private Island is actually a pair of tropical islands in the Koh Rong archipelago off the southern coast of Cambodia. It was founded by a couple, Rory and Melita, who fell in love with the islands and made it their goal to set up a sustainable sanctuary there which supported the local community. So, Song Saa was born. It has a small collection of 27 villas which are made from sustainable materials, including a selection of driftwood which was collected from the local area. The islands are also surrounded by a marine reserve to preserve the ecosystem and wildlife. You access them by a short speedboat journey from Sihanoukville and are greeted by the enthusiastic island staff waving at you from the shore. The perfect welcome!

To give you a taste of what life is like at Song Saa, here are the four key things I recommend you do during your time there.

Relax

It is almost impossible not to relax on this secluded island. The moment you arrive you can take off your shoes and feel sand between your toes. Walking barefoot is standard and you don’t need to put your sandals back on until you leave. Each room is a little slice of paradise and every single suite has a private pool. You can get a jungle villa which has an amazing view of sunset, an ocean view villa which has a private beach or an overwater villa where you can jump straight into the sea. The suites are incredible with four poster beds and the comfiest duvets I have ever snuggled up in, not to mention the huge baths surrounded by floor to ceiling windows and stunning views.

At Song Saa most people go for an all inclusive package, which I highly recommend. The service is absolutely phenomenal. Everything is taken care of and nothing is too much to ask. It is incredibly easy to relax when there are enthusiastic staff waiting to cater to your every need. There is even a “guest experience” team who specifically work with the guests and staff to ensure that all your needs are tended to. For example, one day Ant and I mentioned in passing that we fancied a good old cuppa tea and some biscuits. The next thing you know we had a knock at our villa door with a surprise snack delivery!

I can’t talk about relaxation without mentioning the spa. You could say I am a massage connoisseur, or perhaps just a massage addict! Basically, I know a good massage from a bad one. At Song Saa I tried out the traditional Khmer Karuna Kaya treatment and was extremely impressed. I actually think it was one of the best massages I have ever had, and that is saying something! Not only was the setting stunning, in a private spa villa with a gorgeous view; but the treatment was completely tailored to my needs. The masseuse really targeted my problem areas and used her hands as well as hot towels to throughly loosen up my muscles. I left feeling as light as air.

Eat

Considering Song Saa is such a small and secluded island, the food available is outstanding. There are two main restaurants; Driftwood is a more casual beachside restaurant while Vista has an accompanying bar and floats above the ocean. Every afternoon you will find a small note on your door which features the evening menu and location. As well as dining at the two main restaurants, the island offers “destination dining” where you eat at more exotic spots such as on a private pier, on the beach or even in the pool (yep, with your toes getting wet!). The food served varies from traditional Khmer dishes through to more international cuisine, all of which is high quality, fresh and delicious.

The island also offer cookery classes with their chefs which I throughly enjoyed. We learnt to cook a selection of traditional Khmer recipes from mango salads through to the famous Cambodian dish of fish amok. Not only was the chef extremely patient and kind, but we got to do it in the beautiful setting of Vista restaurant overlooking the ocean, and then eat our creations for lunch!

Experience

I understand that for many, a visit to a secluded island offers an opportunity to completely switch off, sit back, relax and not move from your sun bed. However, I love getting involved in as many activities as I can when I travel and luckily Song Saa have an extensive list you can choose from.

There are tonnes of active activities you can sign up for. The watersports available range from snorkelling, paddle boarding and kayaking through to banana boats, scuba diving and wake boarding and everything in between. I particularly enjoyed paddle boarding around the islands which provides a serious core workout. If you love hiking like me, there are a selection available from lighter beach hikes to more challenging (and beautiful) waterfall ones, each concluding with picnics and biscuits at your end destination. There are also complimentary yoga and meditation sessions available on request. If you’re craving a classic gym workout, there is a fitness centre which has a selection of dumbbells, swiss balls and cardio machines; all with an ocean view.

An activity which I can’t recommend enough is the night-time swim with bioluminescent plankton. These plankton glow in response to any movement in the water creating a magical effect. I have actually experienced this before in southern Thailand and it is still one of my most treasured memories. However, at Song Saa the experience is even better as they take you on a speed boat to the darkest area, allowing you to see the plankton glow even more brightly! It is truly breath-taking. The resort also offer a whole host of other activities from movie nights in your villa complete with popcorn and treats, through to authentic blessing ceremonies from the local monks. It is impossible to not find something you will enjoy.

Care


Song Saa Private Island describe their resort as “luxury that treads lightly”. They actually have their own associated charity the Song Saa Foundation which operates in the local Koh Rong area. They work on projects such as the marine reserve, waste-management programmes, education on sustainable organic agriculture for the villagers and development of schools and education programs. Not to mention the fact that the island itself provides well over 100 jobs to the local population.

Visitors to the resort can get involved in the foundation in multiple ways. The most common being taking a trip to nearby islands in the Koh Rong archipelago, seeing how the projects work and meeting the local people. I think this is absolutely vital, as from the comfort of your five star villa it can be easy to forget that Cambodia is still a developing country. It provides a much needed reality check. You can also get involved in the projects themselves if you feel so inclined and learn more about specific areas which interest you, and of course donate to support the cause. 

All in all, Song Saa Private Island blew me away. It reminded me of the tropical idyllic setting of the Maldives, but even more authentic. The service was outstanding. The villas were exceptional. The people were extremely friendly. And most importantly, the ethos behind it all fell in line with my own. Cambodia can be (and should be!) experienced two ways, as a backpacking destination and as a luxurious escape, and I think Song Saa provides the perfect location for the latter.

To see more from my trip check out my instagram posts here and here, as well as my youtube vlogs!

Happy travels,

Zanna xx

To read more about Song Saa and room rates check out their website. If you’re interested in supporting the Song Saa Foundation then click here.

October 30, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment

How To Spend A Weekend In Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a central hub in Asia and a great spot to stop off for a few days on your travels. I recently popped in for a long weekend with my other half to visit his Malaysian relatives. His family gave us tonnes of travel tips and tricks for this busy city!

Go Shopping

There is a huge shopping culture in Malaysia. I have never seen so many gigantic malls in such a concentrated space in my life! The largest and most central is The Pavilion in Bukit Bintang which features high end shops like Cartier and Gucci as well as more affordable options like Forever 21 and The Body Shop. Tech nerds will love Low Yat Plaza which is unlike anything I have ever seen before! It has seven stories featuring over 500 retailers selling the latest in tech. If you’re looking for a bargain or even a fake handbag, be sure to head to the Petaling street night market in Chinatown. Here you can delve into the bustling stalls and haggle with the locals.

Explore

Kuala Lumpur has a whole host of cultural attractions which you can visit. One of the most popular is the Batu Caves; a series of huge natural caves and cave temples just outside the city. It is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India and features beautiful sculptures and statues. Beware it gets busy (and smelly!), so get there early in the day to avoid crowds. I also recommend heading to the Muzium Negara, the national museum, to get a great taste of the history and culture of Malaysia. While you are there you can also pop into the nearby Lake Gardens. Finally I also recommend visiting the popular Petronas Twin Towers in the city centre which have a visitor bridge providing a stunning view over the cityscape.

Eat Well

As Kuala Lumpur is a capital city it has restaurants galore and can literally cater to anyone. Where it really shines though is the night markets. The most popular is Taman Connaught Night Market which boasts hundreds of stalls selling fresh and delicious food. Make sure you taste the local speciality that is Roti Canai. If you’re feeling brave you can even try the local durian fruit which smells disgusting but apparently tastes incredible. The most popular and best quality is said to be Mao Shan Wang durian. For a guide to choosing the best durian fruit click here. Finally, in the evening you need to head to Sky Bar for a few drinks overlooking the twin towers.

Stay Central

If you’re only in KL for a short period of time, it is easiest to stay in a central hotel, ideally in the area of Bukit Bintang itself. I personally stayed in the Ritz-Carlton which was an absolute dream. It somehow manages to be quiet and luxurious amidst the busiest area of the city. The service is impeccable, the suites are beautiful, the food is delicious. If staying the night is out of your price range, then try popping in for the ever famous Ritz afternoon tea. You can read more about my stay here.

Have you ever been to Kuala Lumpur? Do you have any recommendations? Leave a comment below!

Zanna xx

October 24, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment

5 Reasons to Stay At The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur

When it comes to luxury hotels, it doesn’t get much better than the Ritz-Carlton. World-renowned for their incredible service and beautiful suites, I just had to stay there when I headed to Kuala Lumpur for a long weekend. Here are five reasons why you should book in too…

The Location

The hotel is located right in the centre of Bukit Bitang, the central Golden Triangle district in Kuala Lumpur. It even has corridors connecting it to neighbouring hotels and shopping malls which couldn’t be more convenient. Despite this, it somehow manages to remain quiet and luxurious amidst the craziness, which I think is due to it being set back from the main road.

The Food

Let’s get to the good stuff… the food! The breakfast buffet is out of this world. I mean seriously, it is insane. It has everything from a fresh juice bar to baked goods and everything in-between. I recommend asking the staff for french toast, it isn’t on the menu but they make it specially for you and it is incredible cinnamon glazed amazing-ness. The best I have ever tasted!

The Ritz-Carlton also has a selection of restaurants from The Library which serves incredible international food as well as an indulgent Sunday roast, through to Li Yen their cantonese restaurant which features epic dim sum and a harpist for ambiance. Not to mention the famous afternoon tea available in the Lobby Lounge or the baked treats served up in the Patisserie. You could eat in the hotel for every single meal and never run out of new things to try!

The Suites

Holy. Moley. The suites. We stayed in a one bedroom suite which was absolutely bloody beautiful. It had two white marble bathrooms (decor goals!!), a walk-in wardrobe, a lounge and a king sized bed. The bathroom had a gigantic waterfall shower and an oversized tub to relax in. The bed was ridiculously comfortable and the feather pillows were a dream. Not to mention the 24 hour butler service which comes with every room!

The Service

The thing which stood out the most to me about my stay at the Ritz-Carlton was the service. It was impeccable. On arrival we were greeted with a beautiful food spread in our suite, and everyday this was replenished with fresh brownies and treats. The staff heard that I had lost my suitcase and they gifted me a selection of Laura Mercier bath products to help tide me over and cheer me up. Our butler, Stanley, even walked us to the shopping mall and showed us where to buy contact lenses! One night he ran us a bath full of bubbles and petals and made us little bunny rabbits out of our towels. He was the cutest! Not to mention, in every restaurant and lounge the staff were super friendly and always greeted you with a smile. I honestly felt like I was so well looked after during my stay.

The Spa

Tucked away on the rooftop is a gorgeous spa with an array of treatments available. I personally tried the Sensory Sound Bath massage which focuses on your back using hot stones, warm towels and deep strokes. It was so relaxing that I literally passed out within the first five minutes! I also massively appreciated the gym facilities available, as I was craving a good workout. There was a sizeable weights section including a squat rack, smith machine, leg press and lat pull down. Not forgetting the chilled scented towels available in the fridge which came in mighty useful in the Malaysian heat.

As someone who tends to stick to small boutique hotels, I wasn’t certain how I would feel about the Ritz-Carlton. However, it absolutely blew me away. The luxurious appeal is undeniable. If you’re looking for stunning surroundings and to be waited on hand and food, it is the place for you. I promise you feel leave feeling like you’re walking on a cloud!

Safe travels,

Zanna xx

October 23, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment

The Bali Travel Guide: Tips & Recommendations

Having just spent close to two weeks in beautiful Bali I have picked up a handful of tips, tricks and recommendations for this amazing country. When you’re planning your next trip there give these a go…

Move Around

A common misconception is that when you come to Bali you should just stay in the southern areas such as Seminyak, Canggu and Uluwatu. Although these are beautiful, there is so much more to see. I recommend instead spending a few nights in different places to ensure you get the most of your time in the country. Seminyak is the busy central hub of Bali crammed with shops, beaches and cafes. Uluwatu has gorgeous temples and luxury hotels. Canggu has a relaxed surfer vibe with beach bars, sun drenched cafes and big waves. However, don’t forget to head north to more quiet areas such as Ubud and Lovina. Ubud is surrounded by picturesque rice paddies and is a haven for laid-back yogis and healthy foodies. Lovina is quiet, relaxed and has beautiful temples and hot springs within close reach. Finally, ensure you don’t miss out on the gorgeous nearby Gilli islands for relaxation, snorkelling and scuba diving and of course Lombok to climb the famous Mount Rinjani.

Go On An Adventure

There is no better place to go on an adventure than in Bali. I highly recommend hiking up Mount Batur in the middle of the night (with a guide and some torches!) to watch the sunrise over the island. It honestly takes your breath away. If climbing mountains isn’t your jam, then there are tonnes of other awesome actives available from cycling through the beautiful rice paddies in Ubud to surfing the waves of Canggu, white water rafting in the mountains to aerial obstacle courses in the forests. There is something for everyone and you’re guaranteed to get an adrenalin rush!

Head to A Beach Club

Bali has an abundance of gorgeous beaches which are scattered with incredible bars and clubs. Some of the most popular spots are Potato Head in Seminyak and The Lawn in Canggu. Here you can relax with a cocktail in hand, watch the sunset, dip in the sea and meet lots of like minded people.

Travel Wisely

Transport in Bali can be questionable at times. You can easily rent a motorbike or moped without a licence, which I didn’t do for safety reasons. The next most popular way to travel is using local taxi services. The cheapest and safest way to do this is to use the blue cars labeled “bluebird taxis” and to request that they use the meter. Beware of other taxi operators who wont use meters and will instead over charge you significantly for a ridiculously short trip. They will try and take advantage of you, so keep your wits about you.

Accommodation

The two main forms of accommodation on Bali are villas and hotels, although some lovely BnB’s do exist for very cheap prices. If you want independence and the ability to cook your own food then go for a villa, which are often pretty cheap and come with their own pool. However, if you’re looking for a hotel then I highly recommend Tugu Hotel in Canggu. It is a small boutique hotel which is the definition of authentic and is bursting at the seams with Balinese culture and traditions. The rooms are gorgeous, not to mention huge. The service is incredible and the surroundings are stunning, including hanging walkways and jungle-esque paths between the rooms. My favourite feature of the hotel is that you can eat breakfast anywhere. I chose to have mine on a luxurious beach front four poster bed covered in cushions, overlooking the sunrise. The view was incredible, not to mention the banana pancakes I was devouring!

Be A Culture Vulture

Bali is full to the brim with culture. Just walking down a local street will show you that, as you see the women doing their daily offerings and religious sculptures on every corner. Wherever you are staying in Bali, I guarantee you that there will be as selection of beautiful temples nearby. Be sure to explore them. I also recommend taking some time to delve into the local villages and see how the people live. Bali is still a developing country, which we can often lose sight of from our 5 star resorts. It is important to give yourself a reality check.

Indulge

…In the huge cafe and coffee culture! There are an abundance of incredible espresso bars ands coffee shops which you can pop into for a quick caffeine hit. If you’re more into green juices and kale then you won’t struggle to find a cafe serving up wholesome delicious food. For my top recommendations head to my Bali Healthy Cafe Guide and Video. However, don’t forget to try the authentic local Balinese food too. They serve up some damn delicious curries and coconut chicken!

Be Ethical

Tourism can be a positive and negative thing. Its rapid development in Indonesia has lead to some less ethical tourist attractions springing up. I urge you to try and remain wise in your decisions and avoid supporting elephant rides, animal based experiences and even zoo’s. These often rely on animal abuse and poor treatment. Also, avoid supporting the Indonesian Luwak coffee plantations. This method of coffee development is cruel to the Luwaks which are force fed the beans (don’t believe them when they tell you they “roam free and choose the best beans” – it is a lie!).

Enjoy your travels! If you want even more tips and inspiration then check out my Bali vlogs herehere and here.

Zanna xx

Photos: Denis Plesca


October 20, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment

The Best Healthy Cafes In Bali: A Guide to Seminyak & Canggu

Take one look at instagram and you will realise that Bali is healthy cafe central. Quite frankly, it can be overwhelming. Where should I go? What should I eat? Where even are they?! To make it easier for you, here is a breakdown of my top cafe picks from Bali, focusing on the key Southern regions of Seminyak and Canggu.

Shelter Cafe, Seminyak

This cafe is an absolute gem. It is hidden down a backstreet, so takes a little finding but I promise it is worth it. Downstairs there is a Nalu Bowls bar where you can get a takeaway smoothie bowl, but upstairs is where the real action happens. They have a gorgeous balcony overlooking the local area with is decorated with unique quotes and authentic cosy furniture. Their menu is extensive and delicious. I tried their coffee, banana and date smoothie (an amazing morning pick me up) and the quinoa, eggs and feta breakfast bowl (which was super flavoursome and fresh). The service was fast and the staff were super friendly. The vibe was relaxed and fun, which made me want to return again and again.

The Spicy Coconut, Seminyak

The Spicy Coconut is a vegan cafe located in Seminyak. It has cute (and very instagram-able) decor with rustic wooden tables and chairs and a cosy corner full of comfortable sofas and colourful cushions. The menu ranges from smoothie bowls to chickpea burgers, with a larger selection of breakfasts than lunches. I tucked into their banana and date pancakes with salted caramel sauce, which were absolutely incredible, if a little small! I could have eaten them twice!

Watercress Cafe, Seminyak

Just down the road from Spicy Coconut is Watercress Cafe. It is hidden behind a huge bush so can be tough to see from the street. This was one of my favourite spots due to the relaxed atmosphere, great service and fast wifi; it was an ideal cafe to work in. I had their quinoa breakfast bowl with poached eggs, roasted pumpkin and kale – which was absolutely delicious; while my friend had the acai bowl which was equally as scrummy. Their apple crumble cake is not to be missed. Plus they serve Revolver Espresso coffee which is the best in Bali (in my opinion!).

Betelnut Cafe, Canggu

These guys have an extensive menu… and then an additional one just for healthy Mexican food. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that. They have a cosy downstairs cafe area as well as a more breezy upstairs balcony which overlooks a nearby rice field. The service is super fast and the food is incredible. I loved their cashew, beetroot, pumpkin, feta and chicken salad which I had with a fresh apple and ginger juice. I also shared a banana nutella cheesecake for dessert which was out of this world; and fairly light compared to the usual dense “healthy” desserts found in Bali.

Ruko Cafe, Canggu

This is a lesser-known cafe and as a result is little less busy than the others. This means the service is crazy fast! It has great wifi and indoor seating which is perfect for settling down to work; while the outdoor tables are great for watching the world go by. It has a unique menu featuring dishes such as pulled pork eggs benedict through to thick american-style stacks of pancakes. I tucked into the pitaya bowl and an iced mocha, both of which were super tasty.

Cafe Organic, Seminyak

If there is one “hyped” healthy cafe in Bali… it’s Cafe Organic. Just take one look at their huge instagram profile and you will see why. Their food is the definition of beautiful. Located in central Seminyak, it is easy to get to. Their menu is expansive and they also sell some whole food products as well as a selection of grab and go cakes and treats. You can often queue to get into the cafe so be sure to arrive early in the morning to avoid this. The food is extremely instagram-able and equally as delicious. I enjoyed the Acai Coco bowl which came in a fresh coconut. I even asked them to smash the coconut shell left behind so I could take it away with me as a snack.

Sisterfields, Seminyak

Holy Moley. This place is seriously popular. We went at lunchtime and had to queue for over 20 minutes! The wait was certainly worth it though. They offer all day breakfast food, which is the way to my heart. So I tucked into the classic meal of smashed avocado on toast with feta and poached eggs. Yes, I am a cliche and yes it was damn tasty. I also shared the blueberry pancake topped with pistachio granola with my friends and wow that thing is incredible. It was ridiculously delicious, a must try! The setting was lovely, the service was fast and the staff were friendly. However, do be prepared for more western prices rather than the usual lower costs you get in the other cafes in Bali; which is reflected in the food quality and presentation.

The Shady Shack, Canggu

This was by far one of my favourite cafes of the bunch. It has an awesome menu which can be eaten in or taken away. It ranges from huge colourful salad bowls to super stacked burgers and everything in between. Oh and not forgetting a ridiculous amount of healthy desserts. I tucked into the halloumi salad bowl which was piled up with tonnes of quinoa, greens, cucumber spaghetti and hummus. I also shared a vegan apple bundt cake for dessert which was ridiculously scrumptious. The only downside is that there is no aircon and all the seating is outdoors, which means you get rather sweaty in the Bali heat. The food is worth it though!

Nalu Bowls, Various Locations

Nalu bowls are seriously hyped up on social media, so I just had give them a go. Nalu bowl cafes are attached onto other healthy eateries across Bali, so there is bound to be one close to where you’re staying. They have a small menu of about 5-6 smoothie bowls which come with pre-set toppings. You can add extras and switch up ingredients to your liking. My favourite was the peanut butter one. Good god. It tasted like melting peanut butter. With crunchy granola. And fresh banana slices. It was a little bowl of heaven!

Crate Cafe, Canggu

This cafe defies expectations. When you see it from the outside it looks like a run down shed with a few benches and tables thrown in and a menu drawn on the wall. Don’t let this put you off! They specialise in breakfast and brunch food (my favourite) as well as colourful smoothies; which can be eaten overlooking a nearby rice field. I popped in three times as it was right next to my hotel, and I particularly enjoyed their breakfast greens and their dirty chai. Admittedly, the service is pretty slow and it is so busy that you feel like you have to get in and get out… it definitely isn’t a spot to relax in for a few hours and do some work. However, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is buzzing.

All in all…

The healthy cafe scene in Bali is particularly strong and I loved experiencing it. I haven’t even scratched the surface with this blog post, so don’t be afraid to try any other ones you find on your travels. From the selection I popped into my favourites were The Shady Shack, Watercress and Shelter Cafe. These spots had a laid back vibe which made the delicious food even more enjoyable.

If you want to see these cafes in action then check out my accompanying Bali Cafe Guide video.

Safe travels!

Zanna x

October 17, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment

Guest Post: How To Spend A Healthy Day In Amsterdam

When it comes to Amsterdam, a lot of people are quick to pass it judgement as Europe’s very own city of sin. From its liberal laws to its big electro music scene, a trip to Amsterdam is often a heavy weekend of drinking and partying for most of us. However, as a Brit who’s been living here for four years, I’m one to advocate that there’s so much more to this charming city. But if you’re just a visitor, you need to know where to look for it.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s quite easy to spend a healthy couple of days exploring the city as you take in it’s quirky buildings, rich history and easy-going culture. So, here’s my top tips for a well-balanced and fit-friendly day in Amsterdam.

Get Sweaty

Kick things off in the Vondelpark. I’m the kind of gal who needs to trick myself into exercising while I’m still half asleep so a couple of laps around the park is what wakes me up most mornings. Not into cardio? Don’t sweat it (er, actually…) – there’s a whole bunch of boot camps that run throughout the day in Vondelpark too. Even better, there’s something for everyone. From classic full-body sessions with Vondelgym or The Trainers to Pregnant Aerobics and Krav Maga for seniors!

Breakfast

The best thing about exercising early doors? The feast that follows! More and more healthy breakfast hotspots are popping up around Amsterdam. Grab yourself a smoothie at Juice to Boost or Roots (the salted caramel is seriously the bomb), an acai bowl at Pluk or The Meets, or if you’re down to brunch then Staring at Jacob and Bakers & Roasters cannot be missed!

Rent A Bike

When in Amsterdam, cycling is the pretty much the safest and most sensible way to travel. But, if you’re only here to visit, try not to get caught up in the tourist traps. Avoid the brightly coloured and over-priced rental bike chains and instead head to Discount Bike Rental for a Dutch style bike that will help you blend seamlessly into the crowd.

Get Creative

Bouldering, Kayaking, renting a pedalo – Amsterdam plays host to a whole bunch of out-of-the-box activities to keep you moving. Plus, if you want to work out your brain as well, be sure to check out The Port Game for a thrilling mix of creativity, puzzles, and adrenaline.

Caffeinate

After all that running around it’s time to take a coffee break and luckily good coffee is something that Amsterdam is not short of. Not to be confused with the city’s infamous coffeeshops, there’s plenty of effortlessly cool and quirky cafes to stop by for an afternoon pick-me-up. Toki, Quartier Putain, Lot Sixty One, Vinnies and Sweet Cup are my top five – plus they’re also full of cosy corners to set up your laptop should you have deadlines to meet!

Wander the Streets

Bicycle and boat may be the two transport options you don’t want to miss out on in Amsterdam, but luckily the size of this city means walking everywhere is also extremely easy. And when every corner you turn offers an Instagrammable canal framed by quirky, crooked houses, it’s nice to slow down the pace and take it all in.

Ease that Hanger

Amsterdam might be well-known for it’s fried goods and hugely popular burgers and ribs scene, but for those days that you don’t want to indulge there are plenty of healthy alternatives for dinner. Check out Bazar for some incredible African and Middle Eastern dishes, hit up Sla for a creative and aesthetic salad that will more than satisfy your hunger, or if you’re feeling like some Latin American then Huis van Lopez is an absolute must-visit.

Treat Yo’ Self

We all know that a healthy lifestyle means balance and if you’re in the mood for something sweet after dinner then there’s plenty of spots to satisfy that craving. On a Summer’s evening head to Monte Pelmo or Het Ijsboefje for some damn fine ice cream, or if cheesecake is more up your street then Festina Lente offers the best in town – and trust me, I’ve done more than my fair share of research! If you’re feeling a little more experimental then be sure to visit Chicks love Donuts in Amsterdam’s Foodhallen for a unique combination of sweet meets savoury – you won’t be disappointed!

And there we have it, a healthy guide to a day in Amsterdam. I hope you enjoy these lesser-known gems and feel free to send me your own favourite hotspots and hideouts!

Follow Robin on her blog https://robyncollinge.wordpress.com/, her twitter @robynlaaarv and instagram @robyncollinge.

October 8, 2016

Posted In: Travel

Leave a Comment