How Asian Street Food has Changed Amid the Pandemic

Top street food cities in Asia are staring at the end of an era as the continent and the world struggles with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lack of customers due to near-zero foot traffic on the tourist avenues and an inability to use technology for online delivery platforms demonstrate how Asian street food has changed amid the pandemic. Many vendors are almost out of business.

Shock to the System

Asian countries depend much on tourism, and an 80% decline in international tourism hid them hardest. For instance, Thailand at My 2021 got 34,000 tourists, yet it had more than 39 million at a similar time in 2019. Most travel-friendly countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Indonesia shut borders to tourists.

The street food sector suffered immensely because hawkers, according to a Singapore food expert K.F Seetoh “rely on daily returns, and the margins are low.” Seetoh explained they cook and sell, but the simple business model failed because they did not know about cost control and food waste management.

Tech Challenges

The median age of street food hawkers in a place like Singapore is 60, making it difficult, if not impossible, to take up tech-based intervention. Many old hawkers fear getting onto digital space. Online delivery companies are not making it easier because they take 30% of the food cost, yet hawkers make no more than 12% profit. They cannot afford 30%. Many have closed, and others will follow if things do not return to normal.

Closure Of Street Food Landmarks

Mark Ng, a food tour guide, points out that the decline of street food in Penang, Malaysia, has accelerated, and major landmarks in this business are shutting down. He gives an example of a famous eatery called Air Itam in Asma Laksa that shut for good because of pandemics and loans. The remaining food hawkers in Georgetown Penang are holding on because they have no other option and cannot afford not to work. Local patrons cannot fill the gap left by a long absence of international tourists.

Time to Change or Die

The closure of Ratchada Train Night Market in Bangkok is another sign of slows death to the Thai street food scene. A woman told Vincent Vichit-Vadakan, a food and culture journalist, that her business is 20% of the past. Another lady said, “We are on every platform to survive.” It seems changing from traditional street hawking is the way to survive. Vichit-Vadakan believes the hawkers who found a foothold are those who found an online niche through delivery companies or social media.

Public and Private Support

Street food hawkers are far down in the list priorities by local governments. Singapore government, according to Seetoh, throws money at soft culture. He cites government funding uptake of online delivery apps, yet hawkers are reluctant to use them. Vichit-Vadakan feels that Thailand has no coherent policy on street food as the government was planning to ban food carts before COVID.

The private sector is trying to cover for the perceived inefficiency of support from governments. Local street fans in Singapore use social media to promote struggling hawkers. Fans at Locall Thailand build community-based networks. However, many hawkers are just postponing closure.

Street Food after A Pandemic

Many hawkers, according to Vichit-Vadakan, will start selling online and raise prices because many hesitate to go on platforms because of high commissions. Those who joined sell fewer bowls of some tam and noodles, but they are surviving.

Seetoh notes an online shift by some of his contacts in Singapore shows Asian street food has changed amid the pandemic, but the “concepts will not last post –COVID.” He says the design of hawker centers is for people to visit them.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

Travelling Solo in Prague

When it comes to European capitals with amazing architecture and cultural sites, few can compare with Prague. During World War II, many cities in Europe experienced extensive bombing campaigns that destroyed historic buildings. Prague was spared in this regard. Solo travelers will find much to commend Prague to them as a result.

Freelancer Visa

The Czech Republic has a freelancer visa program that allows people who want to teach English or work in creative fields to stay in the nation on a long-term basis. While Prague is a bit more expensive than some of the other cities in the Czech Republic, there are many cafes along the old streets that provide great working environments.

Museums

Those who like to visit museums will find much to like about Prague. There are many to choose from. Those who are interested in the Cold War can visit the Museum of Communism. The Prague Castle is itself a museum of sorts. From the Golden Lane, which has displays of medieval armaments and examples of Czech housing and shops from more recent eras, to the room in which the Second Defenestration of Prague took place and started the Thirty Years’ War, the castle is full of history that’s worth exploring.

Churches

Prague is known as the “City of a Hundred Spires.” It does not disappoint in this regard. The Prague Castle has both a cathedral and a basilica that house impressive artwork and relics from a bygone era. Just off the Old Town Square is the Church of Our Lady before Tyn, a Gothic church with twin towers that dominate the skyline in the square.

Other Sites in Prague

The oldest astronomical clock that’s still in operation is attached to the face of the Old Town Hall in Old Town Square. A crowd gathers every hour to see the Twelve Apostles rotate through an opening in the clock when it chimes. The Charles Bridge is an iconic attraction in Prague that has vendors and artists selling their wares. Cruises along the Vlatava River can provide a relaxing break to the day. A more somber site is Josefov, the Jewish Quarter of the town that commemorates the Jewish community that the Nazis decimated during the Second World War.

From art to culture to architecture, few European cities can compete with Prague. Its numerous cafes can provide a great setting for getting some work done, and there are plenty of attractions to keep solo travelers interested in the city for a lengthy stay.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

Beautiful Public Gardens Around the U.S. to Visit

The hustle and bustle of the city can be overwhelming at times and even unhealthy as people deal with different agents of air and sound pollution.

Taking a retreat away from the city/work for one’s sanity or just a breath of fresh air is necessary. One way to take a healthy and vibrant retreat away is none other than a trip to botanical and landscape gardens in our country. Below is a list of beautiful public gardens people can visit and inspire relaxation within themselves.

United States Botanic Garden

The US Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the country. It dates almost two centuries back, having been established in 1820. The garden is based in Washington DC, approximately close to the Capitol.

The garden oozes historical magic with plant species from the 19th century, making part of the 65,000 plants present. The United States Botanical Garden features an outdoor garden, indoor conservatory, and Bartholdi Park.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Situated in Richmond, Virginia, a Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden trip leaves one with over 50 acres of gardens beaming with colors. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens ranks as one of the best gardens, having won numerous awards.

The garden features an amazing conservatory dome and 15 gardens, each curated to its theme. Visitors can even experience a dining and shopping experience during their walk. Some of the gardens include the Rose Garden, a Children’s Garden, and a Native Plant Garden. During the winter, the gardens are lit in hundreds of thousand lights, making the garden spectacular.

The New York Botanical Garden

Living in New York is hectic, with so many people, millions of activities, and so many cars- getting away might call for a celebration. One of the very best reclusive areas lies in The New York Botanical Garden. The garden in the Bronx is expansive, resting over 250 acres and boasting over a million plant species.

Started in 1891, the gardens also showcase our nation’s history through its buildings and plants. The garden is divided into 50 areas-each catering to displaying different garden elements. Some of the areas include a rose garden, deciduous forest, and conifers.

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Here in Atlanta Botanical Garden, one gets to see an orchid garden straight from their dreams. Their orchid species display is the largest in the country, creating a blooming haven for the beautiful flower. In addition, the garden also features a canopy trail amid amazing flowers, including perennials and azaleas.

Whether for sightseeing, plant research, or relaxation, take a trip and visit the gardens above. The best way to feel the beauty of mother nature is via experiencing it.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

The Best Face Masks for Travel

No matter where you are in the world, there’s no doubt your daily life has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way, shape, or form. We have learned a lot in the year and a half that has gone by since the outbreak became global, and for now, health regulators in most places are finally allowing for some traveling again. The newest contingency though is that most modes of transportation you will use require you to wear a face mask whenever you are onboard regardless of it being a flight, cruise, or otherwise. Below are some of our top picks for making your next getaway safe, breathable, and still loads of fun.

Triple-layered for your protection (and comfort!) the Airism Face Mask is one you shouldn’t overlook. They feature a contoured design to fit snug to the shape of your face and are made with moisture-wicking mesh to avoid any more unwanted “maskne.” The center layer is a built-in non-woven filter to keep out germs, while the final outer layer blocks 90% of UV rays to provide excellent sun protection making it perfect for any outdoor traveling.

The Brave New Look face mask is sure to make you feel at ease, even when you have to sit for hours in the airport with it on. Featuring tons of patterns and adjustable ear loops, this is the perfect mask for any type of trip and allows you to show some personality, too. There is a replaceable PM2.5 filter, also, so in case it becomes your go-to, you can always remove it and get a fresh filter when needed. If you are making up for lots of lost travel time, this one may be your best bet.

And last but certainly not least, is the Enro Solid Face Mask which is as breathable as it looks while still offering viral protection. It has been specifically engineered for maximum comfort and you should not have to strain to take a breath through this mask at all. It comes in ten colors and sizes for youth and adults so you will for sure find your perfect fit. Your trip will be such a breeze in this mask, that you may even forget that you are wearing it at all.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

Why You Should Visit Bosnia

Bosnia has seen a lot of conflict and turmoil over the years, but it is still a beautiful country filled with a rich history. The many different cultures in this region have blended to create an amazing culture all their own, which you can experience firsthand when you visit some of the most interesting places in Bosnia. Here are reasons why visiting Bosnia will be worth your time!

Sarajevo

Sarajevo is a city most people know of as the capital city of Bosnia, but it is also known as an Olympic town. It was host to multiple Winter Olympics events, and the 1984 winter Olympics were here in Sarajevo. The city itself dates back to 1463, though much of what you will see in the city is from the 19th century. The Austro-Hungarian Empire had control of Sarajevo until 1878 when they handed it over to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a part of their colonial rule. The new government worked hard at opening up Sarajevo to the world, allowing many different cultures and religions to come through. This is the reason you can find so many different types of architecture in Sarajevo, as well.

The Old City of Stari Grad Neretva

Old town grads are popular tourist spots all around Europe, and it has been one of the most popular places to visit in Bosnia for years. It is a medieval town built around 1455 and has since been added onto multiple times over the centuries. Several great fires destroyed large parts of the city throughout history, which helped it grow into its current state. There are many different styles of architecture found in Old Town Neretva, and it is easy to spend the day walking around, taking in all of the views.

Lake Soli

The second smallest country in Europe is home to one of its greatest lakes – Lake Soli. Lake Soli is a salt lake and can be found near Tuzla, which has over 180,000 people. Tuzla is the closest city to the lake as well, and it is easily accessible by bus or car. Lake Soli is the second largest lake in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with an area of 438 square miles and an average depth of 18.5 feet. The water is much saltier than most other lakes, so it doesn’t have much wildlife, and the only fish living in the lake are brine shrimp. There are many places around the area where you can take a boat ride on Lake Soli as well!

Visoko Waterfall Nature Park

Visoko waterfall nature park is the reason why you would want to visit this small town of Visoko. It is a large waterfall and one of the most visited tourist sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was built in 2006. The water flows over nine different terraces making it a very beautiful place to visit!

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a beautiful country that experienced a lot of conflicts in the past. It is still recovering from times of war, but it shows some great signs of progress today.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

Islands of France to Explore

France boasts of being among the top tourist attraction countries. It is well recognized for its breathtaking cliffs, natural sandy beaches, rare wildlife, and spectacular islands that leave you yearning for a comeback. France has islands off the mainland and on overseas territories. Let’s dive into the key islands making France the ideal place for the best tropical getaway:

Martinique

The Martinique island is more Caribbean-like. It is in the Eastern Caribbean sea within the Lesser Antilles, carrying a painful history of slavery, abolished in 1848. The French culture interlaces into the island’s music, food, art, and language.

Currently, Martinique is famous for its white sandy beaches, dense tropical forests, great waves for surfing, and mouth-watering Creole cuisine. It is easy to be confused when it comes to what to do on the island. Individuals can enjoy their day roaming in Fort-de-France, the capital city. They can also take walks and hikes while enjoying the natural landscape.

Corsica

The island Corsica is known for its rugged mountains. It’s situated in the middle of the Mediterranean. It takes about 145 miles when heading towards the southeast of Nice. The island piques its natural landscape, own parliament, language, and culture.

With many activities surrounding the island, it becomes challenging to settle for one. However, for individuals who love architectural designs from Italy, the Genoese capital is the best place to start. Other interesting sites include the UNESCO World Heritage, Ajaccio, the birthplace of Napoleon, and Saleccia, where one can enjoy the fine sandy beaches.

Sainte-Marguerite Island

Sainte-Marguerite is off the coast of Cannes. It is among the largest when it comes to the Lerin Islands. Unlike most of the other islands of France, well known for rugged landscapes, Sainte-Marguerite prides itself on the Croisette (boardwalk) and the film festival.

For those who love historical exploration, snorkeling, and swimming, Sainte-Marguerite Island is the place to be. A visit to the Fort and old prison gives you the chance to learn more about the “Man in the Iron Mask.” One also gets to enjoy and appreciate historical artifacts from the Middle Eastern and Roman shipwrecks.

Frioul Archipelago

Frioul Archipelago is situated off the Marseille coast, minutes from the mainland when using the ferry. It comprises a series of islands that provide a scenic view one cannot help but be attracted to. With the rugged beaches and sea creeks, one gets a stunning image worth the entire trip.

Having four main islands, one cannot miss things to do at the Frioul Archipelago. For those daring enough, they can enjoy swimming in the sea creeks and the thrilling coastal hikes.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

What to Know Before Visiting Norway

Norway is one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world, with a good hospitality culture and many attractions to explore. Some of the pulling forces include skiing, the northern lights, polar bears, and beautiful landscapes. If you’re traveling to Norway, there are some essential things you should know about the country.

Norway has four seasons.

While you may think of snow when you think of Norway, it’s important to note that the country experiences all four seasons when planning your trip to ensure you’re prepared for the weather. This is good to know not only for things such as clothing but to make sure attraction sites are open during the season of their visit. For example, some areas are restricted during winter due to safety.

National Parks are free to use

All public land in Norway is free for use by the public. That means nobody is required to make any form of payment to access the parks or even other outdoor attractions. It’s important to keep in mind to take ownership of any wastes and leave the destinations as they were. Wild camping is one of the preferred activities by most locals and visitors but should be well maintained.

Eating out is relatively expensive.

Some other countries have eating cultures of eating out or ordering in. In Norway, it is expensive for visitors who choose to eat out. While eating out can be a great idea, you may want to consider buying food from the supermarket as it’s much more affordable. Tacos are available in most places, and if you have friends in Norway, they can be sure to enjoy homemade tacos.

Natural attractions are spread out.

Norway is a big country and the most significant reserves and attractions are in nature. So when planning on places to visit, it is crucial to check out the locations to make sure they are in reasonable proximity. For example, you can skip the main cities and go straight to the countryside where the main attractions are. Again if the destinations are far apart, please note that public transport in Norway is slow; most people prefer getting private means to make sure they cover most destinations.

Hotels are sometimes fully booked.

Norway has charming hotels which are quickly fully booked. Many people prefer booking hotels and tickets in advance to avoid getting stranded. Furthermore, early booking is cheap, and it is an assurance to have a smooth stay in Norway.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

4 San Francisco Hikes To Enjoy

San Francisco has been a popular tourist destination for decades. With famous sights like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz, the city is teeming with things to see and do. One well-kept secret about this amazing city is all of the great outdoor activities. From cycling and fishing to fabulous gardens and parks, there is plenty for the outdoor lover to enjoy. An often overlooked favorite is all the hiking trails located in and near San Francisco. Here are just a few of our favorites outdoor experiences for you to check out on your next trip to the City By The Bay.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Many travelers to the area come to get a peek a the Golden Gate Bridge. Most will start at the base of the bridge, take a few steps to find the optimal photo spot, and then turn around and walk back. However, the savvy outdoor enthusiast knows that this is just a place to begin. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area hosts literally miles of hiking trails for all fitness levels on both the Marin and San Francisco sides of the bridge. Additionally, several times a week, guided historical tours are offered for those wanting to know more about the history of the bridge and its construction. With plenty of great, unobstructed views of the bridge and surrounding area, this recreational area is one not to be missed.

Lands End

One of the most beautiful hikes in the region is the Lands End hiking trail. Deriving its name from the fact that the trail literally ends at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, this short but worth it walk is well worth the visit. With beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge to the East, the Marin Headlands to the North, and the expansive Pacific Ocean to the West.

Batteries to Bluffs

Not far from Lands End in Presidio is the Batteries to Bluffs hike. Only 2 miles long, this hike guides enthusiasts along the coastline and across a 1500 acre former military post and treats them to beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay. The trail even offers several opportunities for hikers to climb down and enjoy Marshall Beach.

Muir Woods

No trip to Northern California is complete without including a trip to the Redwoods and the Muir Woods, perfectly situated just outside of San Francisco, which offer hikers a great opportunity to get out of the city and back to nature. With numerous trails spanning across 554 acres of towering redwoods guaranteed to meet the needs of all different fitness levels, a trip to the Muir Woods is an absolute must.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

Underrated Countries to Visit When Traveling Solo

Solo travel gives a person the freedom to experience their favorite destinations fully. Traveling alone means one is free from family, friends, and colleagues. One gets the liberty to choose their destination without getting opposed by anyone. Traveling alone allows one to achieve all their travel goal and even explore alternative places that they wouldn’t have if they had companions. It’s effortless for solo travelers to move from country to country during a single vacation and enjoy every bit. Listed below are the most underrated countries every single traveler should consider.

Malta

The country has a fusion of Arabic and Italian culture in one country. The country is a perfect spot for solo travelers looking to unwind and get away from the big city’s busy lives. Solo travelers should visit Gozo, a car-free paradise with serene hiking paths, SCUBA diving sites, and empty roads that help to achieve the ultimate peace of mind during the vacation.

Finland

The country is full of winter activities for solo travelers throughout the year. The travelers get to enjoy the bright light views and cozy wooden buildings across the country. In addition, Finland is full of parks, island gorges, and many other natural sites suitable for solo explorers.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has the best street foods in the world and amiable locals who warmly welcome and accommodate visitors. In addition, the country is full of magnificent sites to visit, for example, beautiful rock formations, clean idyllic beaches, untouched islands, and the lion rock fortress, to mention a few.

Albania

Albania is a beautiful country full of sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes, and favorable climates for tourists worldwide. The country might be small, but it is full of fun things to enjoy for a solo wanderlust. For instance, the country has beautiful arts and exhibitions, lively street performers, traditional markets, and miniature festivals that pop up in almost every town in the country.

Ghana

The West African country is rich with traditional culture and carries the most affluent shopping culture in Africa. Also, the streets are full of delicious street foods and friendly locals who warmly welcome tourists to their country. Solo travelers should visit the tropical savannah, rainforests, and national parks to enjoy rich natural sites and wildlife.

This article was originally published on IvanaDeDomenico.net

Things To Do For First-Timers In San Antonio

First-timers in San Antonio will be pleased to know that there are plenty of fun things to do. Just how many options are at your disposal? Perhaps too much to count but Make Time To See The World has listed some of them.

The Alamo

The Alamo is a historic Spanish mission and fortress compound. If you’re a history buff, you’ll feel right at home learning about the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. This historical site is one of the key selling points for tourists in San Antonio.

Tower of the Americas

Located in downtown San Antonio, the Tower of the Americas takes fine dining and entertainment to a new level. The 750-foot-tall tower plays host to multiple events such as concerts, car shows, and wine fests.

Pearl District

The historic Pearl District dates all the way back to 1883. Here, you will have a slew of dining options such as Savor and La Gloria. It’s also the home of the Monarch Butterfly Festival in October and the Dia de Los Muertos Festival in November.

San Antonio Museum of Art

Located on the River Walk, this museum features a wealth of work from Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities as well as Latin American, Asian, and Contemporary art.

Japanese Tea Gardens

If you’re looking for a calm spot during your stay in San Antonio, look no further. This is the oldest public Japanese garden in the United States.

Morgan’s Wonderland

It’s easy to bring out your inner child in Morgan’s Wonderland. With numerous attractions such as Sensory Village and Whirling Wonder, you’re sure to get a rush here.

Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch

This is the closest you’ll get to the African safari in Texas. From Zebras to Ostriches, nearly every animal you can think of is here.

The DoSeum

Bringing your kids to San Antonio? The DoSeum is a great pitstop. With water play areas and a treehouse, the kids won’t want to leave.

San Antonio Botanical Garden

Each season there is something new to see at the 38-acre San Antonio Botanical Garden. You can also catch the different breed of birds at the bird blind.

This article was originally published at IvanaDeDomenico.net