#IKnewILovedYou, the Trip of a Lifetime

The winners of last year’s #IKnewILovedYou‬ giveaway share about THE trip of a lifetime!

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 10.44.14 AM
Ever wonder what it would feel like to win a dream trip to Bangkok and Bali? We recently caught up with Alexis and Willie, the impossibly cute couple who won the I Knew I Loved You‬ giveaway hosted last summer with our amazing partners, Clear Channel. Alexis and Willie were whisked off to paradise and treated to the trip of a lifetime with the luxurious Alexa Private Cruises and Oazia Spa Villas. Alexis shares her top moments with us, from the mouth-watering food they’re dying to recreate at home to their favorite memory of a spontaneous boat ride down the Klongs. Live vicariously through their images and favorite moments below!

START YOUR REGISTRY >

 

pic 14

What was your reaction when you first found out that you won the I Knew I Loved You giveaway?!

We were completely floored! We were so excited to be finalists, but we never thought we would win. Who wins contests?! Particularly when the prize is an amazing trip to Bali!

What sorts of activities did you enjoy while staying at Oazia Spa Villas?

Oazia has all kinds of activities. Whether you want to lounge at your own private pool or have day trips, they are there to make sure you get everything out of your experience you hoped for. For us, they took us on a day trip to Ubud where we saw the Monkey Forest, Rice Terraces, and fed elephants! Had we had more time we could have taken an art class, surfing lessons, or had a spa day. We DID get a couples massage our last day and that evening had a romantic candlelit dinner on the beach 🙂

pic 2

What towns/cities did you stop at during your Alexa Private Cruises trip?

Given how remote that part of Indonesia is, there aren’t really towns or cities – mostly tiny fishing villages we passed that were pretty private, where we enjoyed the boat and the diving. The one stop we did do was on Rinca Island to see the Komodo Dragons. What an amazing experience!

pic

What was your favorite part?

Hah – we have to pick a favorite? That is almost impossible! Can I pick two? If so, I would say eating and diving. We ate some of the most incredible food! It was amazing given the tiny kitchen our chef had. You would have thought he had a huge, full-service kitchen and staff with the things he was serving! Even breakfast came with bread he made from scratch! We loved eating that bread in the morning (and dipping it into the hot chocolate 🙂 while the sun was coming up! The dives were also unbelievable – a once in a lifetime experience. The diving instructor was so knowledgeable and showed us all the wildlife to look for! We saw manta rays, sea turtles, and thousands of species of fish!

image

Where else did you go?

Bangkok, Thailand! 🙂 We also had a 10 hour layover in Singapore so we spent the day there!

What is the best moment from the entire trip?

Oh golly…again with the hard ones. If you are MAKING us pick…the manta ray dive. It was pure magic. Well, that or the komodos? Or the beach dinner on our own private island? Or…ugh, you get the picture! This question is impossible.

pic 6

Did you pick up any travel tips? Care to share? 🙂

Definitely precise exchange rates :). We had done all our research and were feeling pretty proud of ourselves, but we found out in Bali we had forgotten a 0! We were so confused why everything was so expensive! HAHA – good thing the locals were nice and filled us in :). Also, we exchanged cash at our banks at home so we didn’t have to pay any exchange rates while were there which was awesome…well, until the Bali fiasco and we had to hit some ATMs! We only ended up bringing 20 instead of 200! OH! Also, tipping customs – learn those :).

pic 12

Do you have any tips for couples who are planning for their honeymoons?

Since we had about 6 months to plan I took my time and was as detail oriented as I could be. We used literally every resource we had: Tripadvisor, Pinterest, travel blogs. etc. For our Thailand portion we planned every day out, making sure that things we wanted to do were open the day we had planned to go. For example, we had to switch a few things around because of a holy holiday. If we hadn’t planned that day, we wouldn’t have known and may have missed out on the experiences. What I will say is that some of the best stuff wasn’t planned. It just fell into our lap – like the boat down the Klongs. That just fell into place and was one of our favorite days in Thailand!

For Bali, I knew we couldn’t really plan for the boat so we had to look into our 2 days on land. I knew I wanted to go to Ubud for the day so I looked into what activities I wanted to do and how far they were from one another so we could pack in as much as we could. One of the biggest pieces of advice I could give is that you need to remember jet-lag! It was great going to Thailand first so we could really truly enjoy Bali without any jet-lag. We also planned less stuff our first few days so we could adjust. Helped so much!

pic 5

What were your travel essentials?

Sunscreen and a camera

Are there any memorable dishes you want to try and recreate at home?

BREAD! I know it sounds silly, but now we are dying to make bread from scratch now! We loved it every day on the boat. Also, we took a cooking class in Bangkok and made some pretty great curry and Pad Thai!

pics

Did you discover any interesting things about the culture that you didn’t know before?

Oh goodness. Lots. We had no idea about the traditional food of Bali or much about their religion. Bali has GORGEOUS active temples which still are very much alive and worshipped. On our drive back from Ubud we saw all the women of a village walking to a temple ceremony with so much fruit and incense balanced on their heads for the ceremony. To them, it was just a normal routine to carry a shopping cart worth of stuff on their heads, but I can’t even balance a book! It was amazing!

Did you and Will learn anything about yourselves as a couple?

We learn something about each other every day :). I would say we were reminded how well we work together. We worked through any crisis we may have had and we compliment each other pretty nicely 🙂 – if we don’t say so ourselves. This isn’t particularly new info, but we learned that Willie just can’t eat squid. No matter how well it’s prepared.

pic 4

Where else is on your travel bucket list? 

Oh this list is QUITE long :). I think our next trip will be South America (thinking the Salt Flats in Bolivia, hiking in Peru, and either Chile or Argentina). Then I am hoping for Greece (Santorini and Mykonos), then Southern Italy and the Italian Islands. Also have our eyes on Vietnam and Cambodia.

pic 1

Didn’t their trip sound amazing?! We are so happy that Alexis and Willie experienced so many incredible adventures on their I Knew I Loved You‬ giveaway. Congrats again, Alexis and Willie! And a big shout-out to all their friends and family, as well as Alexa Private Cruises, Oazia Spa Villas and Clear Channel, who helped make their dream trip a possibility.

#WanderOn

Want more? Follow us on TwitterInsta and like us on Facebook!

START YOUR REGISTRY >

This Kickass Playlist Will Kickstart Your Memorial Day Weekend

Be warned: this kickass playlist will kickstart your Memorial Day weekend (and your wanderlust!). 

DJ hand

Memorial Day is pretty much the perfect holiday. It ushers in all that is awesome about summer, like long-awaited sunshine, long-anticipated trips, and the inevitable long lines at your favorite brunch place. Whether you’re planning on hitting up the beach with buddies or you’re looking forward to enjoying travels near and far, this playlist full of fresh tunes will get you through your weekend. 

So, put on your headphones. Press play. Chill out. Repeat.

 

After listening to the songs from this kickass playlist, we’re ready to recharge this weekend. After all, good music is essential. Everyone needs a soundtrack for their adventures.

Hammock

#WanderOn

Want more? Follow us on TwitterInsta and like us on Facebook!

Cruising Around Sydney with Lekker Boats

Dan of Lekker Boats talks about his passion for social boating in Sydney. 

IMG_2899

Lekker Boats is a fresh company that offers their guests amazing boating experiences around the hottest spots in Sydney. We recently spoke to Daan, one of their visionaries and founders, to hear his thoughts on what makes Dutch boats so unique, what the Lekker way of life really means, and where his favorite spots in Sydney are.

Photo 04-05-14 12 56 53

Tell me more about why you first started your company, Lekker Boats. Was it something that you and your team always dreamed about?

We started Lekker Boats with 3 people: Meindert, James, and myself (Daan).
*Meindert is Dutch and started LekkerBikes about 5 years ago in Australia after he travelled here. He did a course in English, and wanted a bicycle to get from his home to the course. More people got interested, and thats how he started the company.
*I am Dutch as well, and besides my studies, was busy with designing and constructing furniture and interiors of cafe’s. I love being on the water, and spent my time on boats during the summer in Amsterdam, so that is why I first started building a few boats in Holland. I always had dreams of living, surfing, and having a boating company in Australia.
*James is the supporter for our idea, a genius mind, and the investor to make it all happen!

I was speaking with Meindert on the phone while he was in Sydney enjoying “the good life” (and I was in Amsterdam enjoying the rain). We were both dreaming about designing a typical Dutch handmade boat for the sunny, beach-y lifestyle and market in Australia – something completely different than what was on the boating market in Sydney. Something stylish, but fast. Something Dutch. Something very Lekker!

This is why Lekker Boats and Lekker Bikes are a part of LEKKER DREAMING.

sydney, boats, boating, lekkerboats, lekkerbikes, amsterdam, dutchdesign

How would you describe Lekker Boats to everyone? 

First off, Lekker means tasty, sexy, or good in Dutch!

Lekker is a lifestyle brand. Lekker wants to show that transportation can be comfortable, sexy, classy and very convenient. Lekker likes to stand out as a unique company, that is why we are fresh, original, and have a new look on existing products in well known industries.

You write on your website that Lekker Boats “introduces a different type of boat to Australia with a strong dutch heritage.” Why is this Dutch heritage important to you? What do you love about Dutch boats?

“With our beautiful lakes, rivers and many other waterways, Holland is the ideal place for yachting. The use of the word “jacht” started about 400 years ago and from that moment there was a continual growth in demand for yachts, resulting in work for many shipyards throughout the country. They all started as small businesses, building small yachts. Some of their yards developed eventually into big and important shipyards for megayachts. Around these smaller and bigger shipyards, an infrastructure of suppliers, naval architects, stylists, interior designers, and subcontractors developed. This created a healthy competition which caused the best ratio between technology, quality and price. Because Holland is such a small country, and became a specialist in yachts, the Dutch yachting sector started a few years after WW2 with its export. The Dutch trading spirit and expertise in shipbuilding is built up over centuries and created this “super yachting hub”. – Mulder Design

As a Dutch company we have access to all this knowledge, skill, and competency, and we gratefully make use of these resources. We are proud to be part of this history as a Dutch boating design and building company.

Foto 24-07-14 14 05 24

We love that you offer boat rides for wedding parties! Do you have any fun stories about this?

Once we were with a group of friends out at Manly, which is north Sydney. We were having a great time at Collins Beach, which is an incredible environment with big rock jumps and clear waters that are good for snorkeling as well. At about 5pm we dropped off a few people at the wharf in Manly when we saw a newly wed couple who needed to get to the other side of Sydney Harbour, to Watsons Bay, because their wedding party would be there. But, the traffic was stuck on the Harbour Bridge and the ferries wouldn’t go any more at that time. We beached the boat, took the newly weds on board, and raced them to the other side of the Harbour to the party where all their friends were. They saw the amazing city from the water and with the romantic music, everybody in the boat at that time felt the love! When we drove them up the beach right in front of the venue, they were on time, very happy and all their friends were completely surprised.

Foto 12-10-14 13 45 44

We love the way that you describe your company’s services: social boating. What does social boating mean to you and your team?

Great to hear you like our social approach! We really feel our boats are a very social experience. This because they are open, and literally every square cm is accessible and of use for customers. The captain is positioned in the back of the boat, which even makes him/her a part of the group.

Besides the features of the boats, we love to involve our clients in our tours so they can be the DJ, they can decide where they want to go, or if they want to go for a swim they can jump in! We like to give them the experience that they own the boat and can do what they want. That makes it a very enjoyable trip. If the music is on, we would like to have our guests dancing on the top of the benches.

What do you and your team love to do when you’re not planning amazing boating experiences?

If we are not busy with planning trips or having trips with customers we go out ourselves, organize a party with our friends, raft up with multiple boats, or go on a beautiful and exciting camping trip with a boat. We love to discover areas where we’ve never been. For instance, the Hawkesburry River is this enormous park with wildlife, stunning beaches, rock jumps and rope swings, and there are also loads of fish in the waters.

Foto 25-01-15 08 36 58

Where do you personally love to travel with your boats? 

We go mostly around Sydney Harbour. Sydney Harbour is recognized as one of the most amazing waterways in the world. This truly is a wonderful place with dozens of beaches. Some are busy, some are really quiet and private. With an incredible view of the city, you can have a picnic on the whitest beaches while it looks like a Vietnam jungle in the background.

What advice would you offer to couples who are planning their honeymoons in Australia?

Australia is an amazing country with lots to see and enjoy. One of these must sees is Sydney. I would recommend anyone to visit Sydney and experience a metropool, which is surrounded by water. These waters are the playgrounds of the adults (children as well of course). The water, parks, and beaches are the lungs of the city. It is where the people escape to for their lunch times, and during the weekends. It is also how the Aussies can maintain the Australian way of life in a city with 4,5 million citizens.

Foto 20-12-14 19 14 24 (1)

Do you have any favorite spots in Australia to visit or eat at?

Watsons Bay and the fish markets are my favorite places for a nice drink and food. The fish markets are a crazy, busy place where the fish are traded. If you like fish, this is the place to be. Watsons Bay is one of the most beautiful locations, and a rare venue right on the beach in Sydney Harbour. Its easy accessible via the boat, has great food and a fun, beach clubby atmosphere.

If you could choose one of your own Wanderable Experiences to enjoy, which one would it be and why? Who would you invite?

I would love to go to Greece with my girlfriend and do the Private Mykonos Round Tour. Yes, again a boat, I’m just in love with my girlfriend and the sea! I think it’s beautiful, and I hope we could do some fishing, bonfire on empty beaches, and snorkel in clear waters. I’m sure this tour must be great!

Sydney, Australia

Thanks again to Daan of Lekker Boats for the amazing story and tips on exploring Sydney! Check out their beautiful Dutch boats for yourself.

#WanderOn

Want more? Follow us on TwitterInsta and like us on Facebook!

Our Favorite Lustworthy Thailand Adventures

Wanderable’s well-traveled globetrotters pick their favorite lustworthy Thailand adventures. 

iStock_000021199365Medium

Here at Wanderable, we’ve already discovered the best Experience Providers in the world for you. Today, we spoke to some of our team’s wanderers to ask, “Which Thailand activity tops your travel bucket list?”

floating market

Jenny, Engineering Expert

“The Floating Market Full Day Private Tour! Usually, when I travel someplace, I really like to get to know the local culture and interact with the locals. With this tour, you’re taken along the Mae Klong River before you explore the colorful floating markets! I’d pick up fresh fruit to snack on as we drive through the local villages and canals around the area.”

scuba diving

Sara, BD Hotshot

“Hands down, the Koh Tao Discover Scuba. It’s completely private. You get your own boat to cruise around Koh Tao with a specialized instructor. My boyfriend and I have been wanting to learn SCUBA forever, and what better place than in one of the world’s top-rated scuba diving locations? You experience a gorgeous, secluded bay filled with corals all to yourself.”

wildlife tour

Ilana – Marketing Extraordinaire

“I’m such an animal person, so I instantly honed in on the Phuket Wildlife and Romance Tour. It’s really cool – you first travel to Phuket’s largest Buddha sculpture, then take an elephant trek before lunch and more sightseeing. But, I’m most excited for the last stop at Tiger Kingdom! It’s one of my wildest dreams to be able to cuddle with baby tiger cubs.”

bangkok daydream

Marcela, Product Whiz

“Oh, definitely the Bangkok Day Dream Package. Being able to relax in an herbal floral bath before enjoying a body scrub, an aromatherapy oil massage, and a facial relaxation treatment sounds amazing. I feel like I would unwind on years and years of stress in one luxurious afternoon. It sounds like it’ll be so hard to leave afterward!”

speedboat

Jacqui, Content Guru

“It would have to be the Full-Day Phi Phi Island (By Speed Boat), naturally. I love the idea of waking up early to beat the crowds and island-hopping in the Phi Phi Islands on this incredible, sleek speed boat. You’ll visit everywhere from the Phi Phi Don to the Maya Bay. And as if that weren’t enough, you also get to go snorkeling. Literally the perfect day.”

relics tour

Vicki, BD Mastermind

“I really love the Ayutthaya Relics Tour. It allows you to get in a bit of ancient history. You’re submerged in the the history of Thailand’s past royalty while you explore these gorgeous ruins in the former capital of Siam. And you end the day tasting local sweets – what better way to wrap up a fascinating look into Thailand’s past?”

Thai food

Esther, Customer Advocate

“If I were you, I would check out this amazing activity, Discovering Rural Thai Life Over Authentic Northern Thai Cuisine. I’m a huge foodie, so spending the day cooking with a culinary mother-daughter team is right up my alley. Plus, I’m secretly looking forward to impressing all my future dinner guests with authentic Thai recipes!”

cambodia

Which Thailand activities would you love to experience? See our other amazing Thailand activities to add to your own travel bucket list, today!

#WanderOn

Want more? Follow us on TwitterInsta and like us on Facebook!

The Best Margarita Cupcakes for Cinco de Mayo

These fresh margarita cupcakes have just the right kick of jalapeño-infused tequila. Perfect to ring in Cinco de Mayo and snack on while planning your next adventure to Mexico!

cupcake4

Margarita + cake = <3

Cinco de Mayo calls for many things: a tall glass of sangria, a plate of crunchy chips and rich guacamole, and amazing margarita cupcakes to top it all off.

These cupcakes are brain fuel, dessert, and inspiration all rolled into a crumby golden cake topped with a dollop of creamy, spicy frosting. Follow the easy recipe below for the sweetest ending to your Cinco de Mayo celebrations and the perfect start to explore our top-rated activities in Mexico.

cupcake5

Fresh limes – use to garnish your cupcakes.

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and Martha Stewart Living

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
Zest and juice of 1½ limes
2 tablespoons tequila
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk

To Brush Cupcakes:
1 to 2 tablespoons tequila

Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2¾ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons jalapeño-infused tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

cupcake3

Soak the jalapeño in tequila for an easy infusion.

Make jalapeño-infused tequila: Heat the jalapeño until crispy and dark brown. Soak the jalapeño in a cup of tequila for at least 1 hour (slice for more heat). When fully infused, pour tequila through a mesh strainer to remove jalapeño and seeds.

Prep your oven: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Make the cupcakes: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy (~8 minutes). Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at at time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice, vanilla extract and tequila. Mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand.

Bake the cupcakes: Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.

cupcake6

Don’t forget to let your cupcakes cool for 5-10 minutes.

Make the frosting: In an electric mixer on medium-high speed, use a whisk attachment to beat the butter for 8 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Continue mixing on medium speed for 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and add the lime juice, jalapeño-infused tequila and salt mix until fluffy.

Brush the cupcakes: Allow the cupcakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila. Set the cupcakes aside to cool completely before frosting them.

Frost the cupcakes: Frost cupcakes and garnish with lime zest, an additional sprinkling of salt and a lime wedge.

cupcake2

The lime wedges make a cute decoration.

After baking these beauties, we’re feeling inspired to soak up sunshine and fun in Mexico! We’re dreaming of taking private surf lessons at Costa Azul, swimming with whale sharks, and exploring the Mayan Ruins.

How about you? Which top-rated activity would you love the most in Mexico?

cupcake

Couldn’t resist a bite before taking this photo!

Why just stop at Mexico?! Check out our other top travel destinations to fuel your wanderlust today. 

#WanderOn

Want more? Follow us on TwitterInsta and like us on Facebook!