• Yala National Park: Is it any good?

      Sri Lanka is justifiably famous for its wildlife and one of the best ways to spend a few days while in the country is to go on safari. There are three national parks to choose from – Yala, Udawalawe and Wilpattu with Yala being the most popular thanks to its leopard population and its location in the more visited south of the country. But does popular equal good? Not necessarily… I visited Yala as part of a wider trip throughout the south of Sri Lanka. Wilpattu is in the far north so it wasn’t practical to visit on this occasion. Udawalawe is the place to go to observe elephants…

  • Six must-eat dishes on Jalan Alor

      The hawker centre of Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur is street food heaven and a destination that’s on every tourist’s must-do list. It’s sensory overload in one street; the pungent smell of Durian fruit fills the smoke-filled air as a myriad of traders furiously grill satay sticks or steam juicy dumplings. You can’t walk more than a few minutes without someone waving a menu under your nose, asking you to take a seat at their restaurant. With so much going on and with such a vast array of choice, how do you even begin to decide what to eat? Here are my top recommendations: Roast chicken wings from Wong…

  • Travelling to Ushuaia: the bus to the end of the world

      When I was planning my trip to South America, I had grand ambitions of travelling overland from Tierra del Fuego, at the southernmost tip of the continent, all the way up to Canada. After bimbling aimlessly around Asia, I wanted to undertake a grand expedition with a clear goal. However, heading straight to Ushuaia – right at the bottom of Argentina – from the UK is a lengthy and expensive journey. So my “expedition” actually started in Uruguay and I worked my way down the east of South America, journeying back north on the other side. My goal was to travel 100% overland. I wanted to really see as…

  • Five great things to do in Melaka

      There are a few places in the world whose name alone conjures images of adventure – steamy, tropical weather; intriguing spice-laden food; dimly-lit shops filled with strange and unrecognisable items. Melaka (or Malacca), in the south-west of the Malay peninsula, is one of those places. Coveted by the Chinese, the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British, this former trading hub became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008. Despite this it’s often eclipsed by its glitzier neighbours, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Here are five reasons why Melaka should be on your travel to-do list: Soak up the history Melaka was once one of Asia’s greatest trading hubs and it…

  • Primates and pirates in Borneo

      “It will take us about an hour to travel to Turtle Island – unless we see any pirates, in which case we’ll have to go a little bit faster…” Hahaha, a pirate joke from our guide while we’re on a boat. Good one. Except, as we found out later, he wasn’t actually joking. We’d been in Borneo for less than a day and it was already shaping up to be quite the adventure. Borneo is one of those places where just the name alone plucks at the imagination and stirs up thoughts of intrepid exploits through dense, steamy jungles filled with all manner of exotic beasts. Yet, for some…

  • Welsh Patagonia: The pampas grass of home?

      I’ve always struggled with homesickness. You may think that’s strange for someone who willingly chose to leave behind all that’s familiar in the pursuit of strangeness, but both of my long trips overseas were blighted by what we Welsh call “hiraeth” or a longing for home. I’d had a tough time in Buenos Aires so I was looking forward to escaping to Argentina’s vast open spaces. My next port of call was Welsh Patagonia. Would spending time here cure my homesickness – or make it worse? My introduction to Welsh Patagonia didn’t come from history lessons or an article in a travel magazine. It came from a spoof noir…

  • Penguin spotting on Peninsula Valdes

    My rough route around Argentina was already taking me in the vicinity of Peninsula Valdes, although I was completely unaware of its existence until I started planning things in more detail. The peninsula – a few hours drive from the coastal town of Puerto Madryn – is a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its importance as a nature reserve. If you visit between May and December, you can go whale watching but you’re likely to see all sorts of incredible animals year-round. Although I wasn’t there at the right time of year to see whales, I was hoping I’d be just in time to see something I’d never seen…

  • Bonding over beer and chicken feet in Laos

    “We should all sing something! Let’s take turns to sing our favourite song”. Words that usually strike the fear into me but this time I thought it was a GREAT idea. Why? Because I was rolling, roaring drunk. Somehow a turbo-hike through the villages of northern Laos had turned into a lost afternoon drinking beer. It kind of reminded me of being back in uni – you know, where you plan to spend the day in the library but you end up down the pub instead? The difference here was the my drinking buddies weren’t an assortment of skiving students or even my fellow backpackers. They were a family from…

  • W15 Escape: A Sri Lankan escape from the rat race

      Sri Lanka was the first country I visited after I quit my job, my house and my life in London, and I’m sad to say that I probably didn’t do it justice. A two week dash through half of the country while trying to get my head around what the hell I had done was not exactly conducive to a fun time. But when we arrived on Sri Lanka’s sleepy, surfy south coast and checked into the gorgeous W15 Escape for a few days, I finally felt like things might just be ok. As a backpacker, you don’t often get to stay in luxurious hotels. Of course, there’s the…

  • Monk chat and the pursuit of happiness in Chiang Mai

      “I’m not religious but if I were then I would be Buddhist”. If I had a pound for every time I heard someone saying this then…well…let’s just say it would be one way to fund my travels! I do get where people are coming from though. Buddhism enjoys a rare position of privilege among world religions; a belief system that seems to be both inoffensive and, in some ways, desirable to a lot of people. For me, however, the interest in Buddhism comes less from a “spiritual” perspective and more from one that relates to my health. As someone who is so often immersed in a fug of depression…