If you’re headed to North Thailand you probably have three destinations in mind: Chiang Mai, Pai and Chiang Rai. Unfortunately a tight schedule meant I could only visit Chiang Mai, but I can’t imagine the other two being greatly different to be honest.
Vietnam was pretty much exactly like Top Gear made it out to be. Before visiting, many people told me Hanoi was a quiet city and Saigon was chaos. People said Vietnam becomes calmer and friendlier the further north you go.
This leg of the Vietnam trip was meant to start in Hoi An, but unfortunate timing in a lot of places meant a brief stay in Da Nang was the only affordable option before heading down to Hoi An… then back up through Da Nang to Hue.
Saigon is a city with more to offer than bars and restaurants like most cities, which makes it a great stop to begin or end your Vietnam journey with. The city has recovered well since the war, but still offers plenty to see if you’re there to learn more or experience some history of the country’s struggles during that time.
For some reason Uluwatu felt like a little bit more effort and a greater commitment than visiting anywhere else in Bali, possibly because it’s down south in the Bukit, which means there’s less to continue onto afterwards. If your plan is to find some excellent surf spots and Bali’s best beaches, it’s totally worth the trip.
Beyond the “Eat, Pray, Love” experiences being sold by every travel agent in Bali, Ubud has a lot to see and do to make you feel like you’re back on track exploring after you probably spent longer-than-needed in Kuta. There are still some attractions worth skipping, but most experiences in Ubud are rather unique and enjoyable.
I’m lumping Seminyak and Canggu in with Kuta because despite their differences, they’re relatively small and very close to Kuta. Chances are, Kuta is the first place you’ll head once landing in Bali so I suggest making your way north through all three before continuing on to Ubud. I see these three as the same place due to their location, but they’re very different (well Canggu is at least).
What do people expect before their first visit to Kuala Lumpur? I expected a really exciting and cultural asian city with beautiful scenery and nearby authentic Malaysian villages. I was disappointed. Kuala Lumpur is a very normal busy city that I disliked pretty quickly, but after a few days the stress of the place wore off and it wasn’t actually that bad. It’s not great, but there’s definitely stuff to enjoy.
If you find yourself in south Thailand there’s a good chance you’ll visit Krabi, even if just for a stop in Koh Phi Phi. Krabi doesn’t have a great deal to offer, but it’s still somewhere I would recommend spending a few days in.
So you wanted to see the beautiful beaches Thailand has to offer and live the island life, but you needed the company of other tourists and as many home luxuries as possible. Great! I hate travel snobbery, and am a firm believer that comfort is king when travelling. People often complain that Koh Samui is too developed and lacks culture, but if you’re visiting to chill out and enjoy the beach, you won’t be disappointed!
Your buttonhole is filthy.
Before visiting Bangkok, you’ll probably be pretty excited by what it has to offer. After a few days, you’ll hate it. If you’re there for a long period of time, you’ll probably love it. Bangkok is a bit of a horrible city, but one you can get used too and choose to enjoy once you know it a bit better. Unfortunately, both of my visits were short enough to be stuck in the same crap as most tourists and I wouldn’t return for the city itself.
Not your generic packing tips.
Master travel with these mobile tools.
It doesn’t take long in Burgas to realise there’s not really much there. It’s billed as a big city but a short stroll will show you otherwise. This post is actually a lie; it’s all about Sunny Beach. Located just north of Burgas, it’s where really REALLY dumb people that lack any kind of personality go to act out what they believe is partying and pretend they know how to have fun.
Belgrade is a real eastern-European capital city. I’m guessing you’re thinking of skipping Serbia and this part of Europe entirely? Don’t. I had the misconception of it being a rough place where I’d be in danger – it was actually pretty bloody cool. I’m gonna try and keep this positive as I really want more people to give Belgrade a chance.
Split is a magnificently beautiful city with a rich history… so here’s what I learned when I came here and saw nothing but bars…
In general, Zagreb sucks. There’s literally nothing to do it and it’s a dark pit of depression. Hopefully I can help make your stay a little less shit with a few quick tips, though.
Knowing Slovenia is beautiful but with no idea where to head first, it made sense to visit the capital city to meet people and gather information. Ljubljana is not what I would expect from a capital city; it’s small, quiet, surrounded by beautiful scenery and a generally relaxed place.
Nobody has ever said “don’t go to a Budapest, it’s shit” for a reason. I was actually put off purely because I was sick if hearing about the place! Eventually though, Budapest was in my way and I was too lazy to go around it. People were right; Budapest fucking rocks.
I’ll let you know immediately that I HATED Brno, so this is going to be a pretty grumpy post. I think if you’re already going you should read on, because when you don’t encounter these same issues, you’ll probably love Brno – everyone else I know did.
My expectations were low, but my time spent in Kraków was exceptional. It was just a cheap place to visit at the start of our journey, but turned out to be a vibrant city with friendly people, tasty food and affordable fun.
Essaouira has grown on me. My first visit was one of confusion and my lack of preparation left me wondering why I was there. It felt like a small, windy and boring Marrakech, but it’s actually so much more.
A city that can exhaust, frustrate and disgust you, but leave you wanting more – Marrakech was my first venture outside of Europe and I had a whale of a time with no real plan or idea what on earth I was doing. I have visited since and must say this city changes INCREDIBLY quickly, so take my pointers as advice rather than fact and explore for yourself!
When Megabus started offering £20 trips to Europe I hopped aboard an overnight shuttle to Cologne to explore what was billed as a beautiful student city. Unfortunately I went during a week of torrential downpour and had a bit of a naff time, but I’ll try again one day as there were some incredible sights in this old-styled city.
One of my favourite cities in the world, my first non-holiday travel and one I will keep repeating for the rest of my life. A city with endless beauty to marvel at and action at every corner, yet the most relaxing and homely city I’ve ever visited. Every building is a work of art, every street welcomes you with open arms and there’s never a sense of boredom when mindlessly strolling through the canal-constricted cobbled streets of Amsterdam.