My great escapes: Joy Caasi

A jet-setter from the Philippines, Joy Caasi lives in Dubai and runs the blog The Thrift Trip. Here she shares her most memorable travel moments

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Discovering the beautiful, hidden alleyways and canals of Amsterdam is pleasing on the eye, but what I love the most about the capital is Vondel Park, which is ideal for people spotting.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Rome, Italy

Italy was the first country I visited this year and I immediately fell in love with Rome. I walked through every small alleyway I could find, admiring the beauty of the architecture. While trying to find the famous Aventine Keyhole, I stumbled across Giardino degli Aranci (the Orange Garden), which boasts the most amazing view towards St. Peter’s Basilica, with its tall trees perfectly framing the dome.

Giardino degli Aranci, Rome
Giardino degli Aranci, Rome

Sighnaghi, Georgia

I’ve travelled all around the country but the place that captured my heart by surprise was Sighnaghi. Also known as ‘the city of love’, it is a very small town that you can easily traverse on foot. I was in awe of the beautiful colours, especially the mint green balconies and red bricks that characterise the houses.

Sighnaghi, Georgia
Sighnaghi, Georgia

El Nido, Palawan

My home country will always feature in my list of top travel experiences and El Nido, Palawan, is my favourite island out of the 7,107 that make up the archipelago. Hidden stretches of sand, like Nacpan Beach, can be found at the northern part of El Nido – it’s ideal for those who want to avoid the tourist throngs.

El Nido, Palawan
El Nido, Palawan

Salalah, Oman

I visited Salalah during the Khareef Season in 2017 – the earthy aroma of the surroundings is refreshing for the soul. A highlight was discovering Wadi Darbat and the ‘magical’ Anti Gravity Point at Tawi Atair/Mirbat, where cars can travel uphill in neutral gear, without any acceleration.

Salalah, Oman
Salalah, Oman

Dubai, UAE

I like venturing off the beaten track and one of my best adventures in the emirate was overlooking the Margham Desert in a hot air balloon. The moment was made even more special as a couple of falcons took flight alongside our basket.

Margham Dessert, Dubai
Margham Dessert, Dubai