• 14 Ton That Dam Street: Ho Chi Minh City’s hidden cafes

    I struggled to enjoy my time in Ho Chi Minh City. I found the combination of unrelenting humidity and traffic all a bit too much, plus I was in the grip of a depression which made everything that much harder. So I decided to take it easy and focus on things I enjoyed, rather than forcing myself to be a tourist. I had been looking for some (quite literally) cool cafes where I could escape the heat and throw myself into my work, so I was delighted when my Google research threw up a whole load of gorgeous-looking places. Then I noticed that they all had the same address –…

  • Why you need to visit Pondicherry

    Delhi. Rajasthan. Kerala. Goa. It’s a safe assumption that pretty much all of these places are on the “must see” list of most visitors to India. And rightly so because they’re all incredible in their own unique ways. I’ve been to India twice, spending just over three weeks there on my most recent visit, and I’ve still only seen a fraction of what this vast and wonderful country has to offer. So I completely understand why first (and second) time visitors gravitate towards the big names, the places they’ve already heard of. But I want to tell you about another part of India that you might not have considered visiting…

  • What to do in Sri Lanka: A two week itinerary

    Let’s be real. Two weeks isn’t long enough to experience all of Sri Lanka. However, it’s certainly possible to cover a fair bit of ground in this amount of time. This itinerary means you’ll get to experience tea plantations, beaches and even a safari – making your two week trip feel like a lot longer. Isn’t that what we all want from our holidays? Days 1 – 3: Negombo Here’s a not very interesting fact: Colombo airport isn’t actually in Colombo. It’s in the town of Negombo, just to the north. It’s worth knowing this not very interesting fact because Negombo is actually a much better place to stay than…

  • 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…

  • Three historic bars in Ho Chi Minh City

      I really didn’t love Ho Chi Minh City. It was my first experience of Vietnam, a country I’d heard was a slow burner, so maybe I should have started somewhere that was less of a brick to the face. But I was sucked in by my romantic ideas of Saigon…a town full of history with a seedy, decadent underbelly. The reality was the polar opposite. Obviously things have moved on and the name change isn’t all that’s different about Saigon these days. Ho Chi Minh City is a sweaty, traffic-choked, ostensibly unwelcoming, modern metropolis. It’s deeply pedestrian-unfriendly which, for someone who likes to walk, was often frustrating to the…