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Showing posts with label the big trip. Show all posts

The Nevis Swing, Queenstown (or, The Most Bloody Terrifying Thing I've Ever Done)

The world's biggest swing

By the time I reached Queenstown in New Zealand, I'd already spent three weeks in the country exploring various tiny towns as well as large cities. The country pulls in adventure tourists, promising adrenalin-rushing activities for wannabe thrillseekers, but to be honest, I was visiting for the stunning scenery more than anything else. Over my time there I had been caving, hiked on a glacier and been on many a boat trip, but the more I saw my fellow travellers indulge in increasingly crazy shit, the more I found myself wanting to try something too.

The Amazing Street Art of Melbourne, Australia

The Amazing Street Art of Melbourne

Melbourne is my spirit animal. It is a city that I fell in love with immediately when I first visited in 2014 for it's London-on-Sea vibes. The people have soul, the food has feeling and the streets are truly alive. No matter which suburb you're in, Melbourne's street art adorns every surface from walls to lamp posts.

The Best Street Food in Seoul, South Korea

Hotteok stand, Seoul

When I travel, I always research the restaurants I want to try, but when I'm in Asia it's more what I'm going to eat rather than where. Street food is the staple of local life but to tourists it could be deemed a bit risky to eat from a tiny stall perched up on the side of the road. Most of Asia's most famous delicacies can be found in this way, from hamburgers in Xi'an to satay in Singapore, so during my visit to Seoul I sniffed out everything I could to find the best of what South Korea had to offer.

Three Reasons You Should Add Hobart, Tasmania to Your Australian Adventure

Hobart harbourside, Tasmania

When I arrived in Hobart, the capital of the Australian island of Tasmania, I literally had no idea what to do. We had a rough plan for a road trip along the eastern coast after a few days, but as we had time to kill in Hobart, we picked up every leaflet we could find the tiny airport arrivals lounge.

The Markets of Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Flower Market, Mong Kok

Once I've finished stifling giggles at the name of this area (yes, that's my level of humour), a day in Mong Kok is one of my favourite things to do in Hong Kong. The area is known for its shopping, and as I certainly don't have the cash to splash in HK's row-upon-row of designer stores, this is much more my sort of place. But it's not just fashion on offer, Mong Kok attracts tourists because it has a variety of markets to explore; some much more for browsing purposes than others!

Three Places to Embrace Your Sweet Tooth in Sydney

Tella ball freakshakes from Foodcraft Espresso, Sydney

One of my overwhelming impressions of Sydney is how health conscious it is. Maybe it's because both times I've been I've stayed in Bondi which, although beautiful, has more places to eat avocado on rye than you can shake a stick at.

The Islands of Hong Kong: a Photo Diary

Temple on Peng Chau island, Hong KongHaving been to Hong Kong in 2014, this time around I wanted to see more of the lesser explored areas that I hadn't taken advantage of previously. Sadly both times I've visited I haven't had great weather so I haven't been able to really make the most of the islands around Hong Kong, except for Lantau - the home of the giant seated Buddha that I fell in love with one my first trip.

A Beautiful Japanese Lunch at Tsuru, Shanghai

Yorokobi Kaiseki lunch set

The fact that I've never been a huge fan of Japanese food, especially sushi, goes down as well with people as when I tell them I don't like avocado or lemon drizzle cake. I get looks of 'who even are you?' when I turn it away. However (and here's a pretentious warning alert), some foods taste better the closer you are to their origin.

Five Places to Explore in Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Lotus flower lanterns

My trip to Hong Kong this year was my second time in the city. I've already done a lot of the obvious tourist destinations and as my best friend lives there, I wanted to get to know the place a little better. I took to picking an MTR station at random and just walking; guide book in my bag, a local SIM card in my phone and camera prepped. Stepping off at Wan Chai, I picked a direction to walk in, hoped for the best

How to Spend a Long Weekend in Seoul

View into Seoul from N Seoul Tower funicular tower

I'm more accustomed to spend long weekends in a quaint British village, or maybe hopping over to somewhere in Europe like Barcelona. But when I was flying from China to Hong Kong, it seemed a good opportunity to add another country to my itinerary by dropping into South Korea for a four day stint with my best friend.

Cycling the City Walls of Xi'an, China

Hire bicycles on Xi'an city walls

I knew precisely zero about Xi'an, the city closest to the Terracotta Warriors, before arriving there. With some basic research, I realised there were two things I needed to experience: the Muslim Quarter for dinner, and the surrounding city walls.

Dinner in Xi'an Muslim Quarter, China

Muslim Quarter market, Xi'an

Xi'an was an unplanned part of my Chinese itinerary, but as I'd been to Beijing before it seemed to make more sense to head there for a few days before leaving for Seoul and visit the Terracotta Warriors. I wasn't sure what else the city had to offer aside from being the gateway to the famous world heritage site, but a bit of guide book snooping made it clear that eating at the Muslim Quarter was top of the list.

Visiting the Incredible Terracotta Army, China

Terracotta Warriors, China

Let's get this out of the way up front: Terracotta Army, bucket list, once in a lifetime blah blah. You'll have heard all those cliches before when it comes to one of the world's most famous manmade wonders. I was skeptical about visiting but I was damn curious, and although it wasn't on my original itinerary, I decided to make a detour to Xi'an and drop in on those infamous soldiers.

A Day in the French Concession, Shanghai

French Concession, Shanghai

The French Concession area of Shanghai is a bizarre contrast of traditional Chinese life within a setting that looks distinctly European. Aside from Macau, which used to be Portuguese, I haven't been anywhere in China that actually resembles anything western, so this totally threw me. Interspersed within the characteristic browns and greys I was becoming accustomed to, there were sudden pops of colour, and a whole day of exploring the area revealed so many hidden gems.

Steak and Whiskey at The 1515 West Chophouse, Shanghai

Review of The 1515 West Chophouse and Bar in the Shangri-La hotel, Shanghai

I rarely cook steak at home, but then I often feel it's a wasted order in a restaurant too. Very few places do steak perfectly and I certainly didn't expect to find somewhere that would nail such a challenge in Shanghai.

The Incredible Giant Buddha of Leshan, China

Giant Buddha of Leshan, China

China's big, isn't it? I'd never even heard of Leshan before planning this trip, but even this 'small' city has a population of almost two million. We drove for over three hours from our base in Chengdu to get there and visit the thing Leshan is most famous for: a giant Buddha carved in to the cliff face at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers.

Touring Temples in Singapore's Chinatown

Thian Hock Keng temple, Singapore

Chinatown is undeniably the most vibrant area of Singapore to explore. I had amazing food there numerous times (including Kaya toast for breakfast and red chilli crab at dinner), and my love for the colourful shutters on all the buildings in the neighbourhood is certainly no secret. Hidden within the warren-like streets, looked down on by high rise offices and residences, there are some beautiful temples.

Dinner at Di Shui Dong, Shanghai

Crunchy prawns, cumin ribs, aubergine, mapo tofu

I found it surprisingly difficult to find affordable, good quality Chinese food in Shanghai. It is definitely the most multicultural city I've been to in China, which means there are some amazing European restaurants to be found, but I was in China for goodness sake!

Like most accessibly priced restaurant in China, there's no airs and graces at Di Shui Dong and certainly no fancy decor.

The Prettiest Streets in Singapore

Colourful shutters in Chinatown, Singapore

My camera was totally unprepared for how unbelievable pretty Singapore's architecture is. If I'm going to go whole hog with some ridiculous verbs, I'll throw it out there and say the place is wonderfully 'Instagrammable'. Every street has a personality, but ultimately, it has colour. Bright blocks of boldness, mosaics and patterns on tiles and walls, and the shutters.

Red Chilli Crab at Momma Kong's, Singapore

Red chilli crab and black pepper crab at Momma Kong's, Singapore

As much as I genuinely adored the hawker food in Singapore, there was one place that had a buzz loud enough that it drew me away from the £2 murtabak I'd taken to demolishing everyday. Singapore is famous for its red chilli crab so I booked a table at Momma Kong's for me and a very jet-lagged Kristabel, who just so happened to be in the country at the same time as me!
As of 20th November 2014, any products marked with an asterisk (*) have been provided as a sample for unbiased review