Place Reviews (Thursday)

Category Archives for Place Reviews (Thursday).

Hip Hua Hin – Place Report

View from our hotel

Few tourists to Thailand include Hua Hin on their agenda which is a shame. At the risk of spoiling the town with a sudden over run of tourists, this beautiful relaxing town 200 km (120 miles) south of Bangkok is well worth at least a couple of days. Far from the “excitement” of Phuek nightlife and Bangkok, Hua Hin has been enjoyed by generations of Thais for weekends and vacations. Originally known as Samore Riang  or “rows of rocks”, it was adopted by the Royal Family as their seaside resort in the 1920s. Today, it is very popular amongst Thais who come…

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Place Review: Phuket

IMG_0849

There are a few destinations in the world that immediately spell party. These include: Bali, Ibiza, Miami and Porto Heli (Greece). The list also needs to include the small southern Thai island of Phuket which is invaded by 14 million tourists  every year.  They come to get massaged, swim, snorkel, eat, drink and dance. Many do not know why they go to Phuket, just lured by its reputation as a fun place. I first came to Phuket just after the 2004 Tsunami had ripped through. It did not capture my heart! I came back this week to…

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Neglected Newcastle on Tyne

I am not suggesting that Newcastle looks or feel neglected, it is just a place overlooked by tourists and unfairly critiqued by UK citizens. Yet this ancient settlement at the North of England has a lot going for it. It is well worth a day or three to visit. In Roman times, the city was a fort on Hadrian’s wall known as Pons Aelius.  William the Conqueror in 1080 commanded his son to construct a “New Castle” on the site of the old Roman fort. For many years, a grim industrial city, the loss of UK manufacturing has transformed the…

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Cool Copenhagen

In 2014, I was lucky enough to visit my sixtieth country Denmark. Copenhagen is the 183rd city with a population of over 100,000 I have visited in my 50 years! Flew into Copenhagen with Finnair (see Tuesday’s post), zipped through the very easy arrival procedures as were already in the Schengen zone, found the metro, bought a pass and were heading into the downtown in minutes. Oh, if arrival at so many cities was this easy.   Asthetics: 9/10 How many cities in the world, have a harbour that is clean enough to swim in?…

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Scotland Votes Today!

The referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country will take place today. I lived in Scotland for three years and have visited many more times. In fact, having been to the Northern Scottish Islands known as the Orkneys plus all major cities (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling), the Highlands, West Coast and more, I have seen more of the country, than many residents have! It is a stunning place to be wild about travel in! I also have Scottish siblings and friends so discussions over the last few days have been interesting. It seems to me that culturally…

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Chilling in Chiang Mai

I have been to Thailand a few times now but never to Chiang Mai until now. I am very sorry to have left the city alone for so long. The city is a little more isolated than other parts of Thailand but still attracts approximately five million visitors per year- 40 per cent of whom are from outside Thailand. I soon discovered why it was placed at 24 on TripAdvisor’s  “25 Best Destinations in the World” in 2012. Chiang Mai is 700 km  (420 miles) from Bangkok. Getting there requires a flight of about an hour or a 12 hour…

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Being in Busy Bangkok

“you’re going to Thailand…in a coup?” My friends were incredulous. After all news of a coup conjures up images of danger, disorder and degeneration. My friends were not alone in their fears. Tourism arrivals fell 20% in the first week after the Thai coup, some airlines have canceled  flights into Bangkok and most tourist spots are way less busy. The capital itself is operating pretty normally, the army presence is minimal and apart from the curfew (which has now been lifted in some beach side areas) tourists have been largely unaffected. Remember, this is not the first…

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Unique Yangon (Rangoon)

When I was a child, Rangoon was one of the exotic cities of the world talked about in books and poems: mysterious, adventurous and colourful. I have long wanted to see the place for myself. It was founded in 1755 by King Alaungpaya who gave it the name Yangon, meaning ‘End of Strife’. The name was Anglicised by the British when they annexed the country. Rangoon is a mix of  British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences. In 1989, when Burma became Myanmar, Rangoon returned to its original name of Yangon. In 2005, Yangon was stripped of its capital status with…

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Breathtaking Bagan

Bagan is one of the musts on the Myanmar tourist trail. Almost all tourists make the trek by air, train bus and even car to this spot 715km  (431 miles) northwest of Yangon. The area is sited on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady (or Irrawaddy) River. This river slices Burma into two. You can travel to Bagan from Mandalay using this river on an express boat (which takex 10 hours) or an equally long train ride, a very rough bus or car ride (8 to 9 hours). Trains, cars and buses will take you south to Yangon (13…

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