In the ten months of travel I recently completed there was only one place which I would skip in hindsight. There are hundreds of extra places and different places I would go, including Myanmar, but Huangshan was the only place that was an ill informed choice for our budget and time constraint.
Our general time constraint was quite liberal but more specifically we needed to get to Hong Kong due to having a dual entry Chinese visa and the first half nearly being used up. We had intended to stay five days in Huangshan, or Tunxi as the actual area was called and in this time we ended up doing very little. One thing to be aware of is that the only train to Shenzen comes from Shanghai and so is a very busy route in which you are unlikely to be able to get a bed as they prioritise people doing the entire route and only open the leftover a couple of days before, if there are any. In a town with no English spoken we managed to get around the ‘No’ situation at the train station by getting a quieter train to Guangzhou which then has regular bullets to Shenzen. After doing a few hard seat journeys already I didn’t fancy one for 20 hours. Read More »
Before setting off on my travels I did lots of research into every little detail. Most of the information I found was pretty helpful, some was too paranoid and some was just ridiculous. When I started looking into shoes it was a bit of a minefield. There were so many specific recommendations about make, type etc. everyone insisted on specific hiking shoes or those weird strappy sandal things that Europeans seem to love to wear ( as well as bum bags, I have never yet found a time when I have wished I had a bum bag/ fanny pack as our American friends call them).
Read More »
Back in August I was feeling a little homesick and wrote a list of the five things I was missing most about England. Now I’m back and feeling a little travel sick. Seeing England again with fresh eyes has made me consider the things I enjoyed about being in a different society.
I didn’t watch television for nine months and so it seems really weird to see people spending four or five hours a day glued to the screen. Often not particularly watching anything but it just being on as if there is a fear of silence within the house. Of course there are some pretty good shows on TV in the UK and the BBC is a world leader but as soon as the good show ends the TV should be switched off. Instead it is left to continue to the next and the next show. The amount of sitting down that happens is really quite worrying.
Read More »
In my nine months of travel returning home and reintegrating was the single hardest thing I’ve done. It’s not something you expect to be so tough, everyone says about a culture shock but I don’t really understand that because of course I know what England is like, I’ve lived there for 24 years so the culture doesn’t shock me it’s just the mentality and habits of a day to day basis, which I suppose could be considered culture but on the same ways I visited cities abroad I could see the charm in places here. England was, basically, exactly how I had left it. The only problem was that I wasn’t.
Read More »
With food poisoning still in our system and a general weariness, when it came to choosing our accommodation on Pulao Tioman we were easily persuaded when we were told ABC beach would be very busy and noisy. We plumbed for the next ferry stop which was Panuba bay, a jetty with just the one resort and a nice little beach. We didn’t want any stress and with our last island experience being in Thailand we thought when somebody says an area is loud and busy then that would be to the extent of nightclubs running at all hours and you not being able to sleep until six in the morning. Read More »
International events are always enjoyable, whether they are music, sport or even gardening there is always a special atmosphere that everybody has gathered for something they’re excited about. After being a Formula one fan since about the age of ten, living in England there was no realistic way to get first-hand experience. Just for the Sunday ticket you will be paying roughly £150 to be in the field area. Secondly the track is in the middle of nowhere and I don’t own a car so would have to pay for extortionate public transport. Thirdly it will probably be cold and rainy. Read More »
There’s no two ways about it, food poisoning is really awful, much worse than flu and to get it on the road makes it five times worse. I’m not talking about an inconvenient bout of travellers’ diarrhoea but the sort of illness that knocks you off your feet and into bed for at least five days.
With Malaysia as my final destination my time there was limited to 20 days, even shorter if I considered having to be back in KL for the Grand Prix. Our flight in from Kolkata arrived in the early hours and due to Air Asia charging for everything we grabbed a MacDonald’s as we waited for our shuttle bus to the city. We finally checked in at roughly 3 am. Read More »
Since being in India never again will I take the simple hostel for granted. The things I learnt to expect from a budget place flew out the window the second I checked into the guesthouse in Delhi to share my bathroom with Bob the Pigeon and his pile of poo.
Comparatively, price wise to Thailand, or South East Asia in general the rooms and facilities are quite shocking. For £6 in Thailand you can have a clean double room with en-suite, including Wi-Fi and towels and hot shower. For the same price in India, which is a cheaper country you will have what looks like a prison cell, no towels. It will normally be en-suite but the bathroom facilities are quite something. The idea of a shower is quite rare and if it does exist it will almost definitely be cold only. If there is no shower then the washing facilities will be a tap on the wall and a bucket and a dirty/mouldy concrete floor. This is surprisingly something you can get quite used to, in warm weather that is. In cold weather such as the minus temperatures experienced in the north this can become so much of a disturbing ordeal that you toy with the longevity of possibility of going without shower. Wearing a hat and hiding your hair is really the commonplace over choosing to get a cold from washing it. Read More »
After being strictly on the tourist trail through Northern India we decided to take a detour into the lesser known and sample the Himalayas. We had intended all along to go to Darjeeling so had our train to NJP sorted well in advance but after reading up decided that from the station we should go a little deeper. Sikkim was a British protectorate state until 1975 and is the only Indian state to be majority Nepalese ethnicity. It is nestled right up in the north between Nepal, Tibet (China’s Autonomous state of Tibet), and Bhutan, and it is really beautiful.
Sikkim requires a permit to enter, but this is just a formality. It is possible to obtain the permit in big cities and Darjeeling but you can also get it on arrival if you cross the border at Rangpo (there probably are only two entry roads) and then it is free of charge. Of course an agent in the city will charge you up to $30. The people at the border are very helpful and friendly and speak exceptional English as many of them communicate together with it due to so many differing minority languages. Read More »
So far in my travels I have really just been to China and SE Asia; China has very little tourism, and most of it people on a two week stop by, and SE Asia has a huge amount of travellers and holiday makers from all walks of life. Meeting people in India I have found tough.
The main two types of people I met in India (bearing in mind I didn’t go to the south) were;
- The Rich European
Read More »