9 reasons why Myanmar should be at the top of your list of places to go next

9 reasons why Myanmar should be at the top of your list of places to go next

I’ve heard it said that backpacking through Myanmar is your chance to experience what South East Asia was like 20 years ago, before it was flooded with package tourists and screaming touts, and the internet changed the ways we travel. Well, I can’t tell you if this is true or not – 20 years ago I was 6, and backpacking through South-East Asia was much less important to me than…

Island hopping in the Yasawas

Island hopping in the Yasawas

  The Yasawa Islands in Fiji has to be one of the most stunning places in the world. The archipelago of volcanic islands arcs away from Fiji’s mainland in a graceful curve to the north-west. The Islands lie in bluer-than-blue waters, ringed by yellow and white sandy beaches shaded by bright green palms. Under the surface lies some of the world’s best coral reefs where a thousand species of fish,…

On top of the world! Climbing Mt Kinabalu

On top of the world! Climbing Mt Kinabalu

  Have you ever seen a picture or heard a story and thought, “I have to do that!”, without really knowing what you’re getting yourself into? My Lonely Plant guide to South East Asia lists climbing Mt Kinabalu as one of the top experiences in the region. The phrase is something like, “forget about the cost, the pain in your legs, and the price of a beer at Laban Rata…

Village life in Fiji

Village life in Fiji

In an increasingly urbanised world, life in Fiji continues to revolve around the village. Some 60% of Fijians continue to live in villages dotted across the islands, and even those who live in the major population centres such as Suva, Lautoka and Labasa are likely to call a village home. Many villages remain quite traditional, and though the architecture of the homes may have changed, the traditions around sevusevu, kava,…

That time I visited a floating market

That time I visited a floating market

It’s a tourist cliché that features on the front cover of at least 50% of guidebooks and brochures for South East Asia – the Floating Market. But you know what? There’s good reason – floating markets are cool. There’s just something so wonderful about taking the retail experience to water. The floating market I went to was a half-day trip from Bangkok, and virtually anyone who deals with tourists can…

That time I got stopped by police in NYC

That time I got stopped by police in NYC

It had been a pretty big day. My sister and I were trying to cram as much of North America as possible into a two week trip, and this particular day spanned three cities, two countries, and nearly 600 kilometres of travel by bus. At around 8pm we arrived into New York City at the central bus interchange, which is much larger and more confusing than many airports I’ve been in.…

Money matters

Money matters

The other day, my friend asked me for advice about travel money cards – worth it, or no? It’s one of the essential questions any traveller needs to ask themselves in preparation for a big trip – just how will I access my money once I’m on the road? (Or in the air, or on the water, or on the rails, or…) The answer is changing rapidly, just as anything…

Getting lost in Rome

Getting lost in Rome

Rome is the very first city I ever explored by myself, and also the very first city I got lost in. I was 18, and visiting Rome with my German host family. We got separated in the huge crowds at the Vatican museum – it was literally shoulder to shoulder inside, with a queue that stretched back several kilometres outside. By the way, the art work in that place is…

Street eats

Street eats

“Whatever you do, don’t eat the street food!!” That panicked phrase, often uttered by co-workers, acquaintances and well-meaning relatives, is one that plagues many a traveller. Tales of Delhi-belly, intestinal worms and days that were only salvaged by a packet of Gastro-Stop abound, usually accompanied by “it happened to a friend of a friend of mine!” But have you ever noticed that the people who tell you these stories are the…