Beijing Part 3: Peeking Duck

My next rule of travel? Never be afraid to do more research, even after you've arrived. Between China and Ukraine, most of my planning went into the latter - I knew very little about Kyiv, so I wanted to find out what was there other than tour companies offering trips to Chernobyl. For China, I had [...]

Beijing Part 2: Hidden Dragon

I'd done a lot of research on the Great Wall before leaving, and had a good idea of which section I wished to visit. Hiking from Simitai to Jiankou was my first choice, but it was closed. Jianshanlong was my second choice, but only if I could find a reasonably-priced tour heading there. Mutaniyu was [...]

Beijing Part 1: Crouching Tiger

I stepped out of the unlit hutong alley, dodging rubbish and stray dogs as I headed closer to the main strip. I turned the corner onto a side street filled with small shops adorned with neon signs all in Mandarin. No English signs suggesting these stores welcomed Western customers, no flags showing what languages other than Chinese [...]

Rolling down to Jaffa

My second rule of travel? Check the local sporting fixtures when planning. I've got two maps - one keeping track of all the countries I visit, the other all of the stadia. I don't really watch sport on TV - back home I'll cheer on the Hurricanes or Wellington Phoenix in person, but televised sport doesn't do it [...]

Jerusalem, if I forget you

My first memory of Israel? Being woken up by the flight attendant. Israel is a place I've for years dreamed about visiting. Never though I'd be visiting while dreaming! The distance finally caught up with me, and at some point during the flight I'd fallen asleep. The flight attendant roused me shortly before we began our descent into Tel [...]

Oh Vienna

Or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Currywurst" I try to avoid layovers wherever possible. It's not that I mind waiting around airports - it's that I mind not being able to leave them when there's so much to see outside. Especially as a completionist. By the end of this trip I'll be changing [...]

Two Nights in Bangkok

One more than Murray Head. Check and mate! I probably didn't do Bangkok justice - I only had one non-travel day in this city, and I spent that in Ayutthaya. I don't regret that choice - Ayutthaya was amazing. But my last day in Bangkok was bit of a rush, trying to make the most of [...]