Monthly Archives: May 2011

Answers to Yesterday’s Travel Test!

Photograph #1: The Colosseum – Rome, Italy

Photograph #2: The Sydney Opera House – Sydney, Australia

Photograph #3: Moai Statues – Easter Island, Chile (considered a Polynesian island, Easter Island itself is a territory of Chile.)

Photograph #4: The Great Wall of China – China (the wall stretches for nearly 4,000 miles across mainland China, so the exact location could really be anywhere. This photograph was shot at the Badaling location.)

Next week, we’ll post another travel test with different pictures. The first person to post the name of the site and the location of the site will WIN FREE GEAR FROM TOP KNOTCH GEAR! You can either post your answers as a comment on our blog or as a comment on our Top Knotch Gear Facebook page ( Stay tuned! 

Categories: Adventure, Asia, Australia, Backpacking, Chile, China, Circumnavigation, Easter Island, Europe, Explore, Globetrotting, Great Wall of China, Hiking, Italy, Landscape Photograph, Moai Statues, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Packing, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Photography, Random, South America, Survival gear, Sydney, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Travel, Travel Photography, Travel test, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Travel Test! – Next week, WIN FREE GEAR!

Now’s your chance to test your travel knowledge! Look at the image below and see if you can: 1) Tell us the name of the sites and 2) Tell us the countries where each site is found! We’ll post the answers to the travel test tomorrow (Friday) at noon!

This is a practice round. NEXT WEEK, we’ll have another travel test and the first person to name all 4 sites and the countries where they’re found will WIN FREE GEAR from TKG!

Can you name the sites shown in each picture? How about the countries where the sites are found?

Categories: Adventure, Asia, Australia, Backpacking, Beijing, Circumnavigation, Explore, Globetrotting, Hiking, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Photography, Random, Survival gear, Top Knotch Gear, Tourist Site, Travel, Travel test, Uncategorized, World Wonders | Leave a comment

NEW: Red, white and blue paracord!

What’s blue, white and red all over?


It’s Memorial Day this weekend in America (on Monday, actually) – where we honor those who have served our country and commemorate those who have died while in the military. It’s always observed on the last Monday of May.

Visit our online store if you’d like to get a patriotic red, white and blue paracord survival bracelet.

Categories: 4th of July, Adventure, Asia, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Country Flags, Explore, Family, Globetrotting, Hiking, Iceland, Independence Day, Knots, Memorial Day, Nature, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Patriotism, Photography, Red, Summer, Survival gear, Top Knotch Gear, Trails, Travel, Travel Tips, Uncategorized, United States, white and blue | Leave a comment

GIANT Piece of Driftwood

Check out this GIANT piece of drift wood on the beach of La Push, Washington!

Photo courtesy of Phillip Lachman

Just one more reason to always have your camera handy when exploring!

Categories: Adventure, Backpacking, Explore, Hiking, Landscaping, Outdoors, Photography, Plants and Flowers, Tourist Site, Trails, Travel, Uncategorized, Water, World's Largest | 2 Comments

Paracord Dog Collars – Customer Appreciation Photos!

These photos are of a fuzzy Aussie named Justice!

Justice sporting one of TKG's paracord dog collars!

Get your dog a TKG paracord collar today! Click the picture to go directly to our online store.

If you’re interested in other travel and survival gear, you can click the ‘Get Gear’ tab at the top of our homepage or visit our online store –! We have lots of great products to choose from and new gear is added all of the time!

Categories: Adventure, Animals, Backpacking, Circumnavigation, Family, Globetrotting, Hiking, Knots, Love, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Pets, Photography, Random, Survival gear, Travel, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Travel Tip Tuesday! – What kind of packer are you?

Travel tip #13:

Part 1: For this week’s travel tip (sorry, we missed last week), try taking this quiz provided by Independent Traveler to see what kind of packer you are! Once you answer the questions, some tips will be generated that will help you fit your packing style. It’s fun and easy!

Take the quiz here:

Part 2: Tell us which kind of packer you are on our Facebook page ( and you’ll be entered in a contest to win our newest paracord key chain with a bottle opener carabiner! It’s just perfect for those summer brews and you can customize the paracord colors! We’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner on Thursday, May 26th at 12:00PM EST.

WIN THIS! To enter, take the packing quiz and tell us what kind of packer you are - post your packing-type on our TKG Facebook wall!

I’m a last-second lightweight packer!

I always bring my pack as my luggage. If it doesn't fit in my pack, I don't bring it and I don't think twice about it. The quiz had me pegged!

Categories: Adventure, Africa, Airplanes, Asia, Australia, Backpacking, Beijing, Caves, Caving, China, Circumnavigation, Cuba, Explore, Globetrotting, Hiking, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Latin America, Mountains, Nature, Outdoors, Packing, Parachute Cord, Random, Rock Climbing, South America, Survival gear, Thailand, Trails, Travel, Travel Tips | Leave a comment

Our Travel Bucket List!

  1. Visit the wonders of the world.
  2. Cross every longitudinal line and every major meridian.
  3. Step foot on all 7 continents.
  4. Hike some of the Annapurna circuit.
  5. See Mount Everest (bonus points for climbing to base camp).
  6. Hike some of Kilimanjaro.
  7. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
  8. Kayak through the mangroves in Everglades National Park.
  9. Visit the Grand Canyon.
  10. Visit all National Parks in the United States.
  11. Become fluent in French and Spanish. (Bonus points for using it abroad).
  12. Become certified SCUBA divers.
  13. Teach English abroad.
  14. Volunteer with a children’s organization abroad.
  15. Install water filters in a 3rd world country.
  16. Experience a sunrise in the Serengheti.
  17. Party on top of a skyscraper in Hong Kong.
  18. Climb a mountain (the entire thing – height doesn’t matter).
  19. Star gaze in South America.
  20. Take a National Geographic Linblad tour.
  21. Spend an extended time at a Buddhist monastery.
  22. Take tango lessons in Argentina.
  23. Visit the Amazon rainforest.
  24. Hug a koala.
  25. See the fjords in Norway.
  26. Celebrate Oktoberfest in Germany.
  27. Learn wine appreciation – and become connoisseur.
  28. Visit a medicine man and/or a shaman.
  29. Get our fortunes read overseas.
  30. Sleep in a hammock on a beach.
  31. Take a roadtrip across the U.S.A.
  32. Hike the Appalachian Trail – the entire thing!
  33. Swim with dolphins.
  34. See a whale in the wild.
  35. Swim/slide off of a natural waterfall.
  36. Hike the trail to the Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong.
  37. Go on a mediation retreat.
  38. Take a helicopter ride over a volcano.
  39. Hike a volcano.
  40. See the cherry blossoms in bloom in Japan.
  41. Visit the family castle in Scotland.
  42. Eat authentic Italian food – in Italy.
  43. See the Olympics in person.
  44. Have a romantic dinner in Paris.
  45. Visit the Holocost concentration camps & memorials.
  46. Celebrate New Years in different countries (specifically Sydney and Hong Kong)
  47. Visit Iceland.
  48. Experience the Iditarod in Alaska.
  49. Experience Holi Day (Festival of Colours) in India.
  50. See the dragon boat festival in China.
  51. Carnival in Rio.
  52. Visit the Mount Gay Rum distillery in Barbados.
  53. See the Tour de France.
  54. Smoke a real Cuban cigar – in Cuba. Whilst drinking Cuban daiquiris.
  55. See the Northern Lights. (Bonus points for getting crystal clear pictures of them.)
  56. Go on a bike tour of Vietnam.
  57. Take cooking classes in India and Thailand – learn to make authentic coconut curry!
  58. Eat fresh seafood (this is a big deal for us because we’re both long-term vegetarians)
  59. Rock climb at Joshua Tree and Red Rocks
  60. Photograph penguins in their natural habitats.
  61. Visit the Jane Goodall Sanctuary in South Africa.
  62. Witness a tea ceremony in Japan.
  63. Live out of a pack for an extended period of time (which we’re planning to do anyway!)
  64. Celebrate the Festival of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico
  65. Experience the Full Moon Party in Thailand.
Categories: Adventure, Africa, Airplanes, Alcohol, Animals, Asia, Asian Food, Australia, Backpacking, Beijing, Caves, Caving, China, Circumnavigation, Communication, Cuba, Disaster Relief, Donation, Drink, Explore, Family, Food, Fresh Food, Global Aid, Globetrotting, Hiking, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Latin America, Love, Mountains, National Geographic, Nature, Night Market, Outdoors, Parachute Cord, Paracord, Photography, Plants and Flowers, Random, Rock Climbing, Science, Seafood, Snorkeling, South America, Summer, Survival gear, Thailand, Tourist Site, Trails, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, Vietnam, Volunteer, Water | 2 Comments

Balalaika – Russian Vodka Ice Bar in Hong Kong

My first visit to Hong Kong had a very rough beginning – my suitcase broke as I towed it down the crowded streets (notes to self: Just use a pack, not rolling luggage and never buy a suitcase a Chinese grocery store), the hostel my travel buddy and I booked turned out to be a scam (no one had ever heard of it) and we were harassed by a group of Indian men on the street about staying in their ‘special rooms’ above the pawn shops in the shadiest building we’d ever seen. At that point, I started to second guess why he had even included HK in our itinerary and not just skipped ahead to Thailand. BUT… we met up with an old friend (on the other side of the city) who graciously showed us around the city and took us to all of the must-see sites. By the end of the day, I had fallen completely in love, head-over-heels, with Hong Kong. (In fact, I loved it so much, that for a few seconds, I considered deliberately missing my plane to Thailand so I could stay. It was bittersweet.)

One of the places our friend took us to explore was in Lan Kwai Fong (the bar district of HK) to a Russian Vodka Bar called Balalaika. We, of course, had no idea what we were getting into. Since HK has tropical weather and is super humid, we were in tank tops, flip flops and shorts. Little did we know we were visiting a vodka ICE BAR!

The little window where you order your vodka shots!

The ice bar is -7F so they give you fur coats to wear. So fun!

Categories: Adventure, Alcohol, Asia, Asian Food, Backpacking, China, Circumnavigation, Explore, Food, Globetrotting, Hiking, Hong Kong, Night Market, Photography, Random, Tourist Site, Travel, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

The World’s Biggest Cave

Under the ground in Vietnam is a natural wonder that is absolutely stunning. Son Doong is the world’s largest cave. In fact, it’s so big that you could fit a half-block’s worth of 40-story buildings inside it! It stretches for over 3 miles and in parts of the cave, there are stalagmites 230 feet (70m) high! The cave even has it’s own weather! Sitting under a 985-foot (300m) skylight is a lush rainforest home to critters that have yet to be discovered by science. We’re not sure if the cave is open to backpackers like us (or if you have to be a National Geographic genius to get in) but we’re crossing our fingers we can explore some of it when we visitVietnam on our trip around the world!

Fore more information and other pictures, check out this National Geographic Article:

The huge river that runs through the cave.

Son Doong Cave in Vietnam

The cave is the size of a city!

After you figure out how to navigate the slippery rocks, you'll get to the rainforest inside the cave.

Rainforest INSIDE the cave

Inside the cave are plants and animals that have yet to be discovered. Amazing!

Categories: Adventure, Animals, Asia, Backpacking, Caves, Caving, Circumnavigation, Explore, Globetrotting, Hiking, National Geographic, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Plants and Flowers, Random, Science, Stalagmites, Tourist Site, Trails, Travel, Uncategorized, Vietnam, Water, World's Largest | Leave a comment

Beijing Night Market – Wangfujing

The Wangfujing Night Market in Beijing is AMAZING. At nightfall, tons of vendors set up in the street and sell their skewered food. Everything from sea cucumber to strawberries, lobster to watermelon, tofu to starfish is sold on a skewer and can be cooked fresh on the spot. It’s an awesome site – even for a vegetarian, like me. The photo opportunities are endless, too. So if you’re ever visiting Beijing, be sure to check out the night market after dark!

Skewered seafood at the Wangfujing Night Market in Beijing, China

Just about any food you can think of is sold on a skewer and can be cooked right in front of you.

Want to purchase the images above? Check out my travel photography store, Top Knotch Travels, on Etsy!

Categories: Adventure, Animals, Asia, Asian Food, Backpacking, Beijing, China, Circumnavigation, Food, Fresh Food, Globetrotting, Night Market, Outdoors, Photography, Seafood, Skewer, Summer, Tourist Site, Travel, Travel Tips | Leave a comment

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