Travel – Asia

Is China Taking Over the World?

Do we need to worry if it does?  I love Chinese food and have always been interested in Chinese culture. Based on my own experiences abroad, here are my observations: Warning – I despise generalisations and stereotypes. Still, this post is full of them! Apologies if anyone takes offence. 1. Will Chinese be the world’s main language in a few […]

7 Japanese Observations

Man I miss Japan. This time last year, we would have just arrived in Tokyo. We spent a month travelling around. (You can read about some of my favourite places here). A month wasn’t enough. I could have spent weeks in Tokyo alone. To be honest, arriving jet lagged with high expectations, Tokyo was a bit of a disappointment. It […]

Paranoia, Censorship and Freedom of Expression

They had guns but I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t believe that I’d be shot. I was perplexed, annoyed, and shocked by the absurdity of the situation. We were trying to cross the Chinese border from Tibet into Nepal. We were asked to declare any reading material – and consequently did so. I had a Nepal Lonely Planet book which I […]

Is Himeji Castle Worth Visiting?

If you want to see one of the best traditional Japanese castles in Japan, Himeji Castle is definitely worth visiting. Why? Himeji is a UNESCO heritage site and the oldest preserved castle in Japan. It’s been beautifully restored. The adjoining garden is also very pretty. How do you get there? Trains that travel between Hiroshima/Okayama and Osaka/Kyoto often stop at […]

Is Naoshima Worth Visiting?

Naoshima is an island in the inland sea with a few art installations. It’s one of the top picks in the Lonely Planet “Japan” guide book and is highly rated on TripAdvisor. It’s a bit of a trek to get to though, so… Is Naoshima worth visiting?  Maybe. If you have plenty of time, it’s a sunny day, you like modern […]

Tea Time

One of the most interesting countries I’ve visited has been China. It’s huge and I’ve always enjoyed visiting. Despite not knowing any Chinese, and English not being widely spoken, we’ve always somehow managed to get by. I’ve also found the people there to be very friendly, even if it’s been hard to communicate. I’ve noticed a lot more Chinese people […]

Malabar Sunset

I haven’t looked at this photograph in years! It’s a pretty old one, taken with a point and shoot. It was from a wedding we went to in southern India a few years ago. It was a beautiful sunset!

Wandering Yangon

I loved these buildings in Yangon. I don’t know why. I just liked how people would live so close together. I could spend hours wandering around Yangon.

Volcano Above the Clouds

This is a volcano we spotted on our hike down Mount Ijen in east Java.  The sun was coming up and we could see a few volcanoes poking up through the clouds. It’s a stunningly beautiful part of Indonesia.

The Tastiest Soba Noodles in the World!

Mmmmmm mmmmmmm!!!!!!!  I don’t usually enjoy soba noodles that much but these were amazing! This is a tempura noodle dish from a restaurant called Ebisu in Takayama.  It’s a small soba restaurant that’s been in the area for over 100 years. They were by far the tastiest soba noodles that we ate in Japan.  I also loved the English menu […]

Yatai at the Takayama Matsuri

This is a float or “yatai” being displayed for the spring matsuri festival in Takayama, Japan. The festival is held for two days twice a year. Once in spring and once in autumn.  If the weather is good, the yatai are taken out of their storehouses and paraded around town.  There are several floats, all are beautiful and ornate.  Some are […]

Taditional Houses in Shirakawa-go, Japan

Here’s a traditional house in Shirakawa-go, Japan. I loved these houses! It’s a pretty cool area to visit. I’d love to spend more time in the mountains next time I go back to Japan. There was a lot of snow around and many of the trails weren’t open when we were there in April. You can also stay in one […]

Wandering Around the Golden Temple

This is the Golden Temple in Amritsar.  Amritsar is a cool town in the Punjab, not far from the India-Pakistan border.  I’d always wanted to visit the Golden Temple. Fortunately, it’s one of those places that ended up being far more wonderful than I had imagined. I loved wandering around this place. You can hear music and people praying. It’s […]

Clear Ocean Water on the Gili Islands

This is the clear ocean water just off Gili Trawangan.  The coral off the north east of the island is good for snorkelling.  It is very sharp and shallow though, so it’s painful to get out there! There are some half decent sandy beaches in Gili Trawangan but they are rapidly being built on, and quickly disappearing.

Offerings on the Ganges

These are some offerings we lit in Varanasi.  They’re little flowers with candles in them which we laid down to float on the Ganges. Varanasi is a fascinating place. I miss India. It can be a challenging country to travel around.  The poverty is confronting.  It’s an aggressive society to live in.  Although, maybe my opinion’s been coloured by what I’ve read. […]

Sunset on Gili Air

This is a sunset on Gili Air, a tiny island near Lombok, Indonesia. You can see Mount Agung on Bali in the distance. The lady on the right went out and stood in the water for about twenty minutes. I hoped that she was alright. 20 years ago the Gili Islands would have been beautiful.  Now they are very busy […]

Autumn In Jiuzhaigou 

This is Jiuzhaigou National Park in China. It’s around a 10-12 hour drive from Chengdu, less to Xi’an. It’s one of the most scenic places I’ve ever visited. We missed the peak of the fall colours but the park was still stunning. Would love to go back.  

Prayer Flags on the Friendship Highway in Tibet

This is a road sign that we came across on the Friendship Highway on our way from Lhasa to Nepal.  It’s one of the highest roads in the world.  Its highest pass is above 5,000m – I was feeling a bit nauseous by that point! Tibet is one of the most magical places I’ve visited. There’s a unique culture there although […]

Wandering the Streets of the Old Samurai District

Here’s a photo I took while wandering around Nagamachi, the old Samurai District of Kanazawa.  Kanazawa was somehow spared the bombing that engulfed much of Japan during the second world war.  As a result, it’s one of the few places in Japan where you can visit a genuine Samurai house.

The Danger that is Russian Vodka

We were warned about drinking vodka with the Russians. We were warned how impolite it was to refuse offers of hospitality. We just weren’t prepared for such a painful experience so early in our Trans-Siberian trip… Beware. I almost died! On the morning of our first day of our five day non-stop stint on the train from St Petersburg to […]

Travel on the Trans-Siberian Railway

How Much Time Do You Need? How much time can you take off? We could only take two and a half weeks, so spent three days each in St Petersburg, Irkutsk, Mongolia (not enough at all), and a couple of days in Beijing (could have spent longer). Take more time if you have it. Consider stopping off at Yekaterinburg, Omsk, Suzdal, […]

Best Places in Myanmar – Burma Trip Planning

So what are the best places in Myanmar? Where should you stay and how long should you stay in each place?  The list below indicates how long I’d recommend you need in various places in Burma/Myanmar. How do you book accommodation? It’s becoming easier to book online via or using e-mail.  However, some places still need you or someone […]