Life and death on the Vietnamese Express

Vietnam’s chaotic. The roads are a battleground: cars, cabs, trucks, buses and thousands upon thousands of scooters fighting for space; all, seemingly, blaring their horns at each other simultaneously . Our cab ride to the station at Hue immersed us into this now familiar tangle of traffic. On one side: ten-ton trucks bearing down on … More Life and death on the Vietnamese Express

Hanoi unscripted: how to fill 12 hours in a crazy city

Someone was rapping on the locked door, barking orders at us like a prison guard. It was 5 a.m and our night train was pulling into Hanoi. Sleepy people were dragging themselves out of bunks, queuing for the toilet and a chance to brush teeth at the shared carriage sink. Last time we’d hit this … More Hanoi unscripted: how to fill 12 hours in a crazy city

Photo essay: the fantastic faces of Sapa, Vietnam

We had a wonderful time in Sapa, which is in the north-western corn of Vietnam, not far from the Chinese border. It’s a mountainous region with the natural/artificial landscape of terraced paddy fields. Vietnam has many minority ethnic groups and each village in this area has one or two tribes living in it. What is … More Photo essay: the fantastic faces of Sapa, Vietnam

Putting up walls: a sweet and sour taste of China life

The woman beamed at me. And slipped her arm around my waist to give me a quick squeeze. She’d stood back to let me off the boat to the former Emperors’ Summer Palace first, and I’d attempted a ‘thankyou’ in her language. She seemed not only astonished by my gesture, but by my appearance. In … More Putting up walls: a sweet and sour taste of China life

Nigel reaches a personal milestone – ahead of target

As I explained in a post earlier this year about my inspiration to travel, I have long  held an objective to go to 50 countries by the time I’m 50. At about 7pm local time on the 12th October 2016, I reached the target, by setting foot into Japan … some 14 months before I’m … More Nigel reaches a personal milestone – ahead of target

Review: Ryoso Kawaguchi, Miyajima, Japan

Introduction Time of year: Mid-October 2016 Purpose of trip: This was a one night stopover during our round the world trip. We particularly wanted to experience a traditional ryokan whilst in Japan. Why we chose this place: Miyajima is an island with many Shinto and Buddhist temples and shrines, set amongst beautiful wooded hills. It was a place that we … More Review: Ryoso Kawaguchi, Miyajima, Japan

Bento: the art of the unusual food experience

It was lunchtime on the Shinkansen between Tokyo and Hiroshima and the immaculately dressed food hostess was passing. I had heard that they sell bento boxes on the trains, so I asked the lady what was on offer. She handed me 4 cards, each with a different option. One consisted primarily of braised beef tongue, … More Bento: the art of the unusual food experience

Hong Kong: a personal guide to this vibrant city

This was my fourth trip to Hong Kong. In fact, I was here as recently as March 2015. The main reason for repeated visits is that my younger brother, Dan, lives here with his wife, Philippine, and two children – Zara and Louis. In many ways, it is an incongruous place. It’s very Chinese in … More Hong Kong: a personal guide to this vibrant city