A land down under

My red eye flight from Hong Kong arrives in Brisbane at 6am and I go straight to the multitude of car hire desks in the airport arrivals foyer. All of the agents seem taken aback by the concept of someone wanting to hire a car without a reservation months in advance. “I have heard of…

North Vietnam, Hong Kong and Macau

After a day on Nha Trang beach watching fat Russians in speedos engage in multiple bouts of homoerotic wrestling, I make my way back to the hostel, where the staff have left an unattended keg of beer out for “happy hour”. The small breakfast bar is filled with around 30 shitfaced westerners, singing along to…

Good morning, Vietnam.

I arrive at Saigon airport, pick up my visa and take a taxi to my hostel. We weave our way through the swarms of mopeds and scooters crisscrossing the roads in every direction, past the high rises of District 1, then drive down Pham Ngu Lao into District 3. View this post on Instagram A…

Laos

We cross the Cambodian-Laotian border around midday, accompanied by a herd of cows. Once across the border, our coach stops at the Khon Phapheng Falls on the Mekong river, and our guide and I walk around the rapids to take in the entire view. I dwell on the stunning sight and sound of the falls,…

Cambodia

​I pass on the breakfast options of stir fry chicken and ginger, aubergine in oyster sauce and pickled cabbage and pork and go to meet the full complement of our tour group: 4 English, 1 Scottish, 4 Swiss, 1 German and 1 Italian. We head down to our minivans and get on the road to…

Pai in the sky

​I check into my hostel in Chiang Mai, and head out for a walk down the Tha Phae Road, visiting Wat Buppharam, Wat Mahawan and Wat Chedi Luang along the way.  As evening draws in, I head over to Chang Klan Road to see the night market. There are hundreds of stalls lining the road,…

Katooeys and Koh Samui

​Feverish with food poisoning, I crawl on the skyline metro and get off at the stop next to my hostel. The room is clean, well designed, and much more luxurious than anywhere I’ve stayed in India. I stumble into my booth bed, the soothing air conditioning sending me off to a much needed sleep. I…

The eternal fire of Varanasi

​The train ride to Varanasi lasts 26 hours, arriving just 3 hours later than scheduled. The well-spoken Indian man I am sharing the carriage with tells me I’m lucky that the train isn’t 30 or more hours delayed – after all, it is a bit foggy. After finding my hostel, I make my way to go…

Ships of the desert and fortunes in the fort

​I arrive early at the Kamlesh Travel office, but am shortly joined by two Aussies, two Koreans and a bunch of old Indian men who chew tobacco and gob it out on the pavement at regular intervals. After a little wait, the old Indian men eventually make their way to a Jeep across the road…

Monkey business in Udaipur and Chittorgarh

On New Year’s Day, I get up and take a tuk-tuk to the Monsoon Palace on the other side of the city, right at the top of the Aravalli. The tuk-tuk drives me to the top of the hill, but then explains the motor is not powerful enough to drive me any further and that…

A 36 spice New Year’s Eve

​​I wake up on New Year’s Eve and head down to the Grasswood Café for a paneer omelette and a cup of masala chai. There’s a travel shop across the street that exchanges money, so I pop in and change over another stack of rupees for dollars. I come back to the hostel and everyone…

Dharavi slums and the Venice of the East

​I’m more than a little hungover when I wake up on Wednesday morning, so ask if I can extend my stay. They say yes and I get my head down for the rest of the day. I finally get up around 5pm, take a shower and check out. View this post on Instagram The GPO…